A Badge and a Gun Are Not The Only Option
A badge and a gun should not be the only option for public safety.
A badge and a gun should not be the only option for public safety. To prevent crime from occurring in the first place, we need to invest in upstream solutions that are focused on education, support services, and job training. No one should have to steal to survive in one of the most prosperous cities in the country.
What I will do:
Our city will reduce the deployment of armed officers to situations where a crime is occurring or might occur. Public safety functions will be shifted to unarmed or civilian personnel, in similar fashions to what has already been successful in Albuquerque, NM, and Eugene, OR. My office will strongly support existing efforts to stand up robust mental health and substance abuse crisis centers and response teams in lieu of armed officers and the revolving door of the prison.
By doing this, we will free up police resources for serious emergencies, significantly improving 9-1-1 response times.
Subsequently, we must address the lack of staffing for these positions. That's why I'm proposing a first-of-its-kind city-based public safety training academy. This will allow us to foster and train the types of police, public safety professionals, and caseworkers we all want and so desperately need.
Police and public safety professionals, instead of receiving hiring bonuses, should receive housing credits or discounted rent to encourage them to live in the communities whose safety they are entrusted with.
The development of the academy, operational costs, and living wage salaries are estimated at $120m, funded via the sources described in the Budgeting page, but also by reallocating parts of the SPD budget that are going unused, like hiring bonuses and ghost positions.
Criminal justice intervention will be done in a dignified manner focused on stabilizing and rehabilitating people. Our current system creates an us vs. them culture and results in a high recidivism rate.
I will work to create a jobs pipeline into the new model of public safety for formerly incarcerated people. Ideally, they will be the next case workers, mental health crisis responders, and even cops, as they have the necessary lived experience to understand how law enforcement can harm people. Instead of releasing prisoners into homelessness, we will recruit them into living wage jobs to help transform public safety in our city.