Frequently Asked Questions

 

How will Berkeley strengthen police accountability?

We now have a unique opportunity to improve community oversight of law enforcement. In the November election, Berkeley voters can pass Measure II, which provides greater police accountability and transparency. While the City government considers additional proposals concerning policing, the community can approve this important step forward.

Why do we need to strengthen police accountability?

In 1973, Berkeley was one of the first cities in the country to establish a civilian Police Review Commission (PRC). As such, the Commission was subject over the years to a variety of legal challenges that significantly eroded its powers. Today the Commission is very weak in its ability to oversee the Berkeley Police Department and to review civilian complaints. Given the current understanding of best practices in civilian police oversight, Berkeley lags woefully behind.

How did the police accountability measure get on the November ballot?

For almost 50 years, Berkeley residents, advocacy groups, and civic leaders have attempted to strengthen civilian oversight of the police. After much negotiating, the Berkeley City Council has voted unanimously to put on the ballot an amendment to the City Charter to replace the PRC with a more effective Police Accountability Board. 

How will the Charter Amendment strengthen police accountability?

Here’s some of what the proposed Amendment will achieve:

Make the Board and the new Director of Police Accountability independent of the City Manager.

Allow the Board full access to internal police department records.

Extend the time allowed for investigation and discipline in police misconduct cases from 120 to 240 days.

Allow for a more reasonable standard of evidence in determining police misconduct.

What are the limitations of the current Police Review Commission? Where can I learn more about the need to replace it?

This Daily Cal article describes the drawbacks of the current PRC:

https://www.dailycal.org/2019/03/21/close-to-meaningless-police-review-commission-reformers-look-to-bay-area-neighbors-as-models-for-effective-police-oversight/

Campaign for a Safe Berkeley Yes on Measure ii, P.O. Box 9631, Berkeley CA, 94709