Police reform will be one of the most important topics discussed this election cycle. My campaign and I recognize the significance of this issue and are dedicated to finding a common sense bipartisan solution. I acknowledge the good work the city council has already done in establishing the civilian oversight board but believe that there is still more the city can do.
Our community needs to focus on changing the mentality of policing from a warrior mentality to that of guardian mentality. That is to say, it should be the role of the police to protect our community instead of to fight crime. This distinction is very important and defining it in our community will be the goal of my term in office should I be elected. If I were to be elected, I would give the community the opportunity to provide feedback about the Madison police department in the form of anonymous citywide surveys. I would encourage the city, and the newly established civilian oversight board, to allow community members the authority to determine for themselves how police practices need to change. We cannot begin to fix our policing practices in this city until we fully understand how the community feels about its police officers.
Giving the people of the city the agency to make those tough choices about policing will involve expanding the powers delegated to the civilian oversight board. Were I to be elected I would advocate for the board’s authority to be expanded so that it’s recommendations carry more weight.
I believe that the board, and the newly-established monitors office, should have the authority to recommend disciplinary action against officers. This authority currently rests in the police and fire commission but I believe the power could be jointly vested in both bodies by allowing the new monitors office the power to request the redetermination of discipline.
It is also the belief of this campaign that there are certain policing practices that need to end immediately.
My campaign will seek to pass legislation aimed at banning the use of facial recognition technology for policing purposes in the Madison area. Facial recognition software has been proven to be a non-effective form of policing with a strong racial bias. Furthermore, facial recognition software is an intolerable violation of a person’s right to privacy and the city should take steps to abolish it.
My campaign will also seek to pass policy aimed at re-evaluating police protest response. Large gatherings can be disbanded without violence and the city needs to further explore how best to practice this. The police of this city also need to be severely demilitarized. If I am elected I will fight for a much tighter police budget and less spending on paramilitary equipment for police officers.
Now, none of these proposals are in their final stage. Our campaign is based on the principle of listening first; we acknowledge that on our own we do not have all the answers. Without community collaboration, there is no way that there can be effective and lasting change, and that’s why, in the beginning, stages of this run, our biggest priority is talking to as many people as possible to identify and prioritize the needs of the district that we may not recognize.
So, if you’re interested in any of these ideas or if you want to help us get to the finish line, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.