Police Accountability

Nanci believes that the relationship between the Berkeley Police Department (“BPD”) and Berkeley citizens has been severely damaged by the actions and policies of the BPD.  She is firmly committed to calling on BPD to end state-sanctioned violence against black, brown, and poor people. Officers must be held accountable for committing, supporting, or concealing police violence.  Policies must be developed and enforced that identify and eliminate racism and race-based practices within the department.  To reflect a serious commitment to these changes, the Public Safety Officers’ Procedural Bill of Rights must be amended.

In addition, a bridge needs to be built between the BPD and the citizens of Berkeley. The essential first step is a clear commitment by BPD to transparency and accountability.  President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing pointed out that “the public confers legitimacy only on those whom they believe are acting in procedurally just ways.”  Nanci believes that in order for the residents of Berkeley to confer legitimacy on BPD, there must be a clear collaboration with the City Council and community leaders to establish a civilian oversight agency with the following powers:

  • To hire and fire officers for cause
  • To determine disciplinary action in cases of misconduct related to excessive and lethal force
  • To determine the funding of agencies
  • To set and enforce policies
  • To retain concrete means of retrieving information - such as subpoena power - from law enforcement and third parties as it pertains to to circumstances involving excessive, sexual, and lethal force, and other areas of police misconduct

Finally, BPD must dedicate resources to ensuring transparency.  It is essential to hold an open and honest dialogue with the public about problems that the community and BPD have identified, coming to solutions together.  This will not only demonstrate a commitment to open channels of communication, it will bring the BPD closer to being the kind of organization that reflects the will of the community it serves.