Community Zoom Forum on Police Accountability in Vallejo
Upcoming on January 19 from 6-8PM
This community forum will explore what steps we need to take to organize and implement a legally sanctioned oversight committee with hiring, firing and subpoena powers. We will be joined by Rashidah Grinage who is the coordinator for Coalition for Police Accountability out of Oakland and a panel of experts. This is a rare opportunity to communicate with a group of seasoned social justice activists who by all accounts worked to develop one of the most powerful and effective citizen police oversight committees in the country.
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Jan 19, 2021 06:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting using this link:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting
Among the many reasons this effort deserves the support of all Vallejo residents:
Panel participants will include:
Mrs. Rashidah Grinage joined People United for a Better Life in Oakland (PUEBLO) in 1994, after a police-involved shooting that took the lives of her beloved husband, Raphael and son, Luke.
Mrs. Grinage began her career with PUEBLO learning about community organizing from PUEBLO Director, Dan Hosang. Since then, she has done extensive research on police practices and served on several task forces in Oakland including:
The Community Policing Advisory Board, which convened in 1994. The Advisory Board divided Oakland into “beats” and established the philosophy of community policing;
She served on the Task Force in 1996 to upgrade the function and effectiveness of the Citizens’ Police Review Board (CPRB);
In 2000 Ms Grinage again served on a Task Force to remedy the structural flaws in the CPRB that were creating a backlog of complaints;
The Task Force reviewing the Rand-funded study of Racial Profiling in Oakland, spearheaded by former Capt Ron Davis;
The Task Force to review the Oakland Police Department policy on high speed pursuits;
And Mayor Dellums’ Task Force on police issues from 2007 to the present.
Ms Grinage earned her B.A. at Brandeis University in English and Theater Arts, her M.A. from Holy Names College in Education, and her California Secondary School Teaching Credential from Holy Names College. She has taught middle school for over thirty years, and is the proud mother of Manuel, Marzuki and Hamid Grinage. She has served as the Director of PUEBLO from 2005-2014 when she stepped down to serve as the Coordinator of the Coalition for Police Accountability which proposed the Charter change that would create an independent police commission for Oakland. A version of this proposal was placed on the ballot by a unanimous vote of the Oakland City Council and passed by the voters on November 8th with 82% of the votes cast.
Anne Janks is a union organizer and 25 year resident of Oakland. She got involved in policing accountability during the Coalition for Police Accountability’s 2016 campaign for community oversight of the Oakland Police Department. Subsequently, she has worked on integrating community involvement into policy advocacy and development, public outreach and education, and developing alternate response models for emergency calls.
Cathy Leonard is a native Black Oaklander who is committed to working on improving our city through robust community organizing and engagement.
Ms. Leonard served for six years on the City of Oakland’s Community Policing Advisory Board as the District 1 representative. Currently, Ms. Leonard serves on the steering committee of the Coalition for Police Accountability (CPA) and on several working committees of CPA. CPA is behind Measure LL and Measure S1, both of which garnered over 83% of Oakland vote in 2016 and 2020, respectively.
Ms. Leonard is the founder of Oakland Neighborhoods for Equity, Oakland, CA which serves to identify and best serve the needs of Oakland neighborhoods by advocating for accountability by City government to ensure that traditionally underserved neighborhoods receive equitable treatment.
We have submitted some questions for the panel to consider which will give a sense of the topics that will be discussed, time permitting:
1. Please explain the five or so most significant features of citizen oversight in Oakland.
2. How did they win Oakland Police Officers' Assn. support for the 11/20 amendments? Was union given draft ballot measure for comments? How? Ongoing meetings, as needed, or none? Did OPOA support or oppose past oversight measures?
3. What is the effect of citizen oversight and how can that be demonstrated (so we can educate VPD, VPOA, council, and city manager)?
4. What are the best arguments in response to those who claim the cost is too high, that we should proceed with small steps, and that the VPD will not be able to recruit new officers? Why should Vallejo have a strong citizen oversight commission?
5. If an officer chooses to appeal a decision of the commission, what happens? How common have appeals been? Has there been a difference in the discipline imposed before and after citizen oversight? Please explain.
6. How are commissioners appointed? What training do they receive? Are they paid? How many hours/ month do they work on commission matters? What do they do besides oversee disciplinary cases?
7. How much turnover among commissioners? Have you had quorum issues?
8. What is your relationship with council, mayor, and city manager? With the community?
9. How do recommend that we build community support? We do not have business community support. How did you build broad support (over 80%)?
10. Which community groups have been your strongest allies?
11. What work have you done regarding policies, recruitment, screening, training, supervision, modeling and rewarding community policing, use of force, diversity (racial, ethnic, gender, LGBTQ, religious, age, and education. How many women and LGBTQ supervisors, managers, and executives?
12. If there is an objection about evidence at a disciplinary hearing, who determines whether the evidence is admissible?
13. What connection do you have with the Department of Violence Reduction and MACRO?
Rashidah provided a powerpoint presentation about their efforts in Oakland.