The Ad Hoc Committee on Police Policy was created by the Eugene City Council earlier this year in response to Black Lives Matter protesters who advocated for police reform. The group will review current police policies and make recommendations to the City Council for changes and improvements.
The committee will meet ten times, with a focus on topics from organizations such as Campaign Zero and 21st Century Policing.
The committee will also submit a report to the City Council recommending police policy changes by January 31, 2021.
The Ad Hoc Committee includes local organizations representing communities of color, representatives from community Indigenous People, as well as members from City boards and commissions, and four representatives appointed by Mayor Lucy Vinis. The committee includes representatives from the following organizations:
· 15th Night Youth Advisory Committee
· Asian/Pacific Islander Community Action Team
· Black Unity
· Blacks in Government
· Centro Latino Americano
· Civilian Review Board
· Eugene Islamic Center
· Human Rights Commission
· LULAC – League of United Latin American Citizens
· NAACP – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
· Police Commission
Betsy Davis is the head of the racial profiling committee for the League of United Latin American Citizens, and a memebr of the Ad Hoc Committie. She wants to address the contact policy and the disparities among people police officers pull over, as well as implement more accountability measures for officers.
“To build accountability systems where if officers see a fellow officer doing something they believe is not ethical, right, or constitutional by the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, that they would be protected and have a way to report and hold their fellow officers accountable,” said Davis.
She said police departments should be reporting all encounters with community members, not just when they pull someone over while driving a car. Davis said this could also allow communities of color to feel comfortable reporting inappropriate police behavior.
“As one young black man said, he had guns drawn on him and there was no police report about it,” said Davis. “And everyone was encouraging him to speak up and he said, ‘No, because it’s their word against mine and they always win’. And that is not how it should be.”
Now, Davis wants a serious conversation about policing policies.
“I don't know what I hope to get from this,” said Davis. “I hope it's not just another example of talking and talking and talking and nothing changes.”
According to a city press release, the Mayor and City Council members will be participants of the meeting, “for the purpose of listening, learning, and asking questions to better understand the community concerns and the recommendations that come from the committee.”
“We are very grateful to the organizations and representatives that have committed their time and energy to this critical work and continue to move us forward,” wrote Vinis in the press release. “While Eugene is ahead of many other cities when it comes to police practices and accountability, we know there is still room for improvement. This committee will help identify and recommend where those improvements can be focused to better serve our community.”
The first meeting will be Wednesday, September 30, from 6-8 p.m. The second meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6, 6-8 p.m.
Future meetings will be scheduled from October through January. The virtual meetings will be conducted on Zoom and available for the public to watch live via Zoom or recorded and posted on the City’s website.