Berkeley Police Accountability Board Meeting 12/6

Police Accountability Board 12/6.jpgThe Berkeley Police Accountability Board (PAB) held their regular meeting on December 6th, at 6:30 pm. After a customary call to order and public comment, the board began their Office of the Director of Police Accountability (ODPA) staff reports, during which Keegan Horton, the new OPDA investigator, was introduced.

PAB Commissioner John Moore spoke about his visit to Berkeley High School, where he spoke with a social justice class. Moore was pleased to report that he had a good discussion with the students, and that they were engaged and enthusiastic. He described it as “one of the best things I’ve done”.

The next agenda item was the Berkeley Chief of Police’s Report, which was delivered by Captain Michael Durbin. Durbin began with a staffing report, stating that the Berkeley Police Department (BPD)  will be paying close attention to hiring goals as the 2023 year comes to a close, especially considering the new recruitment and retention plan in place. The BPD will have a report of overall hiring for the next PAB meeting. Durbin noted that the department had difficulty hiring people for limited term positions, which has been the primary reason the department has been unable to hire Community Service Officer (CSO) positions.

Durbin then spoke about  four crimes of interest. The first involved a driver being found with narcotics and a sawed off shotgun after attempting to flee when the police stopped the driver’s gray BMW on the 180, heading eastbound. Second was assault with a deadly weapon, where a delivery truck got hijacked by a person with a gun. The third incident involved a police standoff when the police attempted to make contact with a resident after a gunshot was heard in an apartment, which led to the suspect being arrested after five hours of negotiation. The latter two cases are still being investigated, he said.

Durbin also reported on the second officer-involved shooting that took place in November 2023, stating that the investigation was ongoing and details were unavailable at the time. However, critical video footage will be released soon in accordance with the law, he said.

Durbin ended his report with the observation that the trend of vehicles failing to yield for officers has been rising, retail theft trends continue to pose an issue, and cadillac converter thefts have seen a decrease.

Continuing on in the meeting, the Board discussed the 2024 PAB meeting schedule and their strategic planning that will take place in the new year.. After a quick debate, the members agreed to maintain the current meeting times of Wednesday, 6:30 PM. The Board then reviewed Councilmember Harrison’s draft resolution “Opposition to Police Brutality and Use of Force on Nonviolent Protesters”, meant to reaffirm the City of Berkeley’s opposition to and condemning police brutality towards nonviolent protesters and discourage use of “less-lethal” weapons for crowd control.

The Board then opened the floor up to public comment, before entering a closed session where they discussed and acted upon case updates regarding complaints received by the ODPA.

–Elaine Zhang


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