CONTROL THE PATROL
Police violence is not just the thousand or so lives lost every year. Police violence exists in many aspects of our society--one factor, largely, being the lack of accountability and the unimaginable power police have over the community. You can find out about some of those power imbalances in our own communities by clicking here.
We must end the overpolicing of marginalized communities, especially black, brown and indigenous communities and work toward a society that does not rely on the strong arm of the law to live in peace. In fact, we firmly believe, in most situations, police bring violence rather than work to end it. However, it is not about being anti-police, it is about being pro-community. Adopted from national Black Lives Matter thinkers, we are looking to implement sensible community based solutions from Campaign Zero. You can sign the petition above and you can learn about these solutions here. We want to see them enacted in City of Tampa, City of Plant City, City of Saint Petersburg and City of Clearwater and we will need your help to make it happen. At the bottom of the page, you can find out what other actions (aside from signing and sharing the petition) that you can take to make this happen.
Civilian Review Boards
Civilian review boards coupled with investigative panels make sense. Why would it be presumed safe that police departments should be able to police themselves? We need independent, autonomous review boards that act on their own to serve the people. We've found a model review board in Chicago and we think these could be implemented right here. We're calling for:
An autonomous review board that does not answer to the police chief, the mayor, city council nor any other existing government entity.
That operates on it's own budget of not less than 5% of the police department's annual budget.
That has the full ability to issue subpoenas, take testimony from officer's and witnesses.
That functions in a public, transparent manner in which complaints (with personally identifying information redacted) can be reviewed by the public each step of the way.
That has open public comment forum to allow the public to provide concerns and direction to the board, its supervisors and its directors.
That does not employ current or former police department personnel, their spouses, roommates, parents, children, close friends or other conflicts.
That allows civilians to file complaints online, through phone call or via traditional mail.
When implemented properly, body cameras can actually serve as a vital tool for accountability. However, when implemented carelessly, body cameras can actually be dangerous--as they could be used as tools of surveillance and oppression. City of Tampa currently has body cameras but the regulation is so faulty, they almost are not worth it. City of Plant City, St. Petersburg and Clearwater lack body cameras entirely. This requires us, the public, to go strictly on the word of the police officers--and that is usually disastrous.
Review Our Blog Post
Properly Regulated Body Cameras
Non-Violent Use of Force Policy
Violence should not be the standard mode of operation. In fact, it should never be used! We pay the police, yet they wield an unbelievable amount of power to abuse and harm people. While this can and does impact people across varying intersections, it is particularly harmful to people of color, trans people, immigrants and those with disabilities.
The evidence, as provided by Campaign Zero, shows that limiting the police use of force greatly impacts everyone--it protects police officers from harm on the line of duty but also greatly protects civilians from harm.
Naturally, the less harm they are doing to us, the better our relationship is going to be. Strong arm of the law, violence and intimidation only lead to broken trust.
While City of St. Petersburg's use of force policy is much better than City of Tampa's, it still has room for improvement. The research is still in progress to determine the City of Plant City and City of Clearwater's force policy.
Further, we call for, as Campaign Zero, suggests, a mental health crisis intervention team, of whom should respond in cases of mental health crisis'. Police with their deadly weapons cause harm--whereas a competently trained mental health intervention team could actually de-escalate situations involving mental health, which could result in positive endings for all.
Campaign Zero's Use of Force Recommendations
Implicit Bias and Cultural Compentence
Everyone has implicit biases and it is time to stop pretending we do not. Police's implicit bias, however, can be life threatening. Not only that--but their biases result in racial profiling, which cause people of color to face penalties at higher rates than white people.
We are calling for annual implicit bias training for all police and their supervisors. This training shal be provided by an outside provider of whom is not employed by nor has a relationship with the police department--to ensure it is appropriately administered.
Campaign Zero Training Recommendations
Call on your representatives within your city and demand they enforce these policies. Tell them to adhere to the policy outlines of Control The Patrol from Restorative Justice Coalition.
At the state-level, representatives hold the key to changing the narrative across the entire state. We urge you to contact your state representatives and your state senators and demand for sensible policy based on Control The Patrol. Don't just call or e-mail them once, do it often. Tell them you mean business!
Sample Call or Email Script: "As your constituent, I am urging you to enact community based solutions state-wide to protect our residents from police violence and corruption. I am calling for sensibly regulated body cameras, the full repeal of the law enforcement bill of rights, a requirement to enact local civilian review boards in every municipality, implicit bias and cultural training for every officer and non-violent use of force policies!"
Lobby City of Tampa
In Tampa, the Mayor has control of the police department and therefore can enact policies. You should call upon the Mayor and City Council to enact sensible policies. Do not just call them once--do it regularly and build a relationship. See if you can schedule a meeting with them or visit City Council and make a public comment.
Sample Call or Email Script: :"As a Tampa resident, I am calling on you to enact sensible community based solutions for our police department. I want to see our body camera regulations updated to include privacy policies and better chain of accountability, non-lethal use of force policies implemented city wide, implicit bias and cultural trainings done annually by outside providers and I want to see a real, autonomous and independent civilian review board."
Lobby City of Plant City
In Plant City, the City Manager and the Police Chief have an unimaginable amount of power. You can visit City Council at 302 W Reynolds Steet, Plant City, 33563 on the second and fourth Monday of every month to make public comment. Arrive at 7:00pm. Address them--and visit as often as you can. Speak about these policies with confidence. You can also reach out to them by contacting them directly.
Sample Call or Email Script: "As a Plant City resident, I am calling on you to enact sensible community based solutions for our police department. I want to see our body camera regulations updated to include privacy policies and better chain of accountability, non-lethal use of force policies implemented city wide, implicit bias and cultural trainings done annually by outside providers and I want to see a real, autonomous and independent civilian review board."
Call City Manager Bill McDaniel: 813-659-4200
Call Police Chief Ed Duncan: 813-757-9200