The first Berkeley Police Review Commission meeting of the year, held January 13, 2021, focused on community safety. The meeting featured a slide presentation by Fire Chief Dave Brannigan called “Public Safety Re-imagined.” The Fire Department is studying ways to move dispatch from a one-size-fits-all response to 911 calls, to one that has dispatchers trained and certified to select a specialized response. Brannigan’s findings showed four possible methods of organizing dispatch. They are considering carefully the third alternative.
This project will be presented at a Berkeley City Council meeting in March with plans to be in place by July 1st. This plan affects Berkeley’s affiliations with Albany, Piedmont, and Bart dispatch systems.
Nathan Mizell was selected as the PRC’s representative to Berkeley’s Re-imagining Public Safety Task Force. Mizell was on the Mayor’s Task Force for Impartial Policing. His interest in this issue was made clear with, “Thank-you, Commissioners, I appreciate it,” in response to the unanimous vote. The Mayor’s Fair and Impartial Policing Report, which includes some 20 recommendations, will be presented at the February 23rd City Council meeting.
Transition to the Police Accountability Board
Katherine Lee discussed the work of planning the PRC’s transition to Measure II’s mandate to create a Police Accountability Board and Director of Police Accountability. Applications will be available in February with plans for the new Board to be seated by July 1st. Recommendations for the Director of Accountability will go before the City Council in May, but may not be in place as early as the Board. The Police Review Commission is working on funding for the Director’s position and for the Board members. The $3.00/hour that the present PRC Commissioners receive for their work will change with the new organization. An open meeting on January 19th will be a work session regarding the three ballot measures passed by voters at last November’s election, one of which was Measure II.
–Christine Wenrich firstname.lastname@example.org
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