Create and Support a Community Policing Commission
Ann Arbor’s Police Department has an earned reputation for professionalism and discipline. My goal is to ensure that AAPD’s work continues to meet and, indeed, exceed community expectations. Therefore, in the wake of the long-overdue national conversation about white supremacy, law enforcement, and equity, we must work everyday to ensure that all residents have confidence in AAPD.
We can take pride in what we do now while also working every day to do better. AAPD is committed to serving the public without bias or favor, but we all live in America. This means that all of our responses and actions exist in a web of race-, gender-, and class-based subconscious biases and privileges that do not always reflect our earnest aspirations. To fight and overcome those deficits requires that we be collaborative, vigilant, and intentional.
We have increased department-wide implied bias and de-escalation trainings, but we must do more. I support and have advocated for a strong Community Policing Committee (CPC) to bring the police and community together to work toward ensuring public safety in Ann Arbor via a shared vision and mutual accountability. This group’s task, as I imagine it,will be to (i) examine and advise AAPD regarding tactical and operational policies and practices; (ii) examine and advise AAPD regarding internal affairs practices; (iii) communicate AAPD policies, practices, and goals to the public; (iv) communicate resident experience and concerns to AAPD leadership; (v) serve as the focal point for expanded and regular dashboard data from AAPD; and (vi) provide a forum for truthful conversations between AAPD, City Hall, and the public that they both serve.
As to complaints, some have advocated for a CPC that has independent investigatory powers – that it serve as a public grand jury. I do not at this time believe that the CPC can or should serve this role in the investigation/adjudication of complaints. We do not have the volume or scope of complaints that you might find in Chicago or Detroit. Further, we already have robust civilian oversight of the police department. The Chief of Police reports to the City Administrator; the City Administrator reports to City Council and the Mayor; and we report to you.
It is, however, entirely reasonable and proper for the CPC to evaluate and report regarding AAPD’s internal affairs review process and, when contractual, legal, and privacy dictates allow, to evaluate and report regarding the results of individual adjudications. The CPC cannot have the ability to alter AAPD’s review, but it can and ought to report to the City Council and the public their conclusions as to the process and results. If CPC believes that our internal affairs policies and practices are not serving everyone in Ann Arbor, I want to know it.