Albany Community Task Force on Policing

Albany’s Community Task Force on Policing met on June 15th, 2021, to discuss police oversight in the city of Albany. Current best practices are now being implemented in smaller jurisdictions such as Albany, as the state of California adopts new regulations for police oversight.

Allyssa Victory, an ACLU criminal justice staff attorney, gave a presentation on what’s happening in the NorCal region. The police supervision recommended isn’t entirely new, but it’s now being extended to smaller jurisdictions like Albany that want to participate in this type of discussion and effort. 

Victory said that oversight serves a variety of purposes. These functions include assisting in the accountability of those charged with public safety, ensuring the transparency of public dollars spent, and helping in the evaluation of a department’s effectiveness in addressing public safety –  while building public trust.

Victory then discussed the three basic forms of oversight. The police department’s performance, budget, and other audits were covered under the oversight section of the presentation. Any form of policy, from hiring to personnel, as well as use of force and weapon regulations, recommendations, and studies/data transparency, should be reviewed. The section on accountability dealt with discipline, as well as receiving and analyzing complaints against specific officers. 

The following list of best practices contains what many believe will aid in making oversight bodies more successful once implemented and able to perform their duties. (1) The power to subpoena witnesses and documents and/or other means to timely and adequately access records necessary for oversight. (2)  A body that is independent means it is not staffed by any current or former law enforcement, including family members of officers. (3) Adequate budget to cover: equipment/cost needs, stipends, and ability to hire outside counselors and consultants. (4) Accessible to the public, with contact information, public meetings, websites, etc well publicized. (5) Members are representative of their jurisdictions with a focus on groups most impacted by policing and incarceration. (6) Recommendations that have binding authority or are required to be presented to the local government body for a vote. 

Please see the full meeting here:

-Anna Rocha

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