City to Begin Discussion on Policing Policy
Posted on 06/12/2020
Dear Piedmont Community,

In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of four Minneapolis Police Officers and the cascade of public outcry across our nation, I want to assure you that the City of Piedmont is resolute in its commitment to examine our own institutional policies and procedures and to participate in public discourse about how and where we can make changes aimed at addressing systemic racism that may reside in our current practices.

Our first concrete step in this effort is to closely examine our current Police Department policies and training. Chief Jeremy Bowers has taken an important initial step to outline PPD existing policies relative to the “8can’twait” project of Campaign Zero and its call for policymakers at every level of government to take deliberate action to end police violence. Chief Bowers has posted this information on PPD’s transparency portal and will be delivering a report on use of force, associated policies and training to the City Council on Monday June 15th.

This item is intended to fully inform the community of our current policies and practices and to set the stage for future community dialogue about them. To that end, over the last two weeks, the City of Piedmont has engaged in conversations with the Piedmont Unified School District, Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, and a number of community members to brainstorm and plan for public discussion opportunities. As these plans come together, the City of Piedmont will communicate details about future events on this topic.

I look forward to City staff and the Piedmont community engaging together in challenging and important work ahead.

Respectfully,

Sara Lillevand
City Administrator



Let's Begin the Conversation

As our community continues to react to, respond, and plan further actions relative to the criminal events which led to the death of George Floyd and the larger societal issues it represents, I want to alert our community about several items.

• First, effective June 8, 2020, I suspended the authorized use of force technique known as the Carotid Control Hold. The carotid control hold is a use of force option which may be applied in restraining a violent or combative individual by applying bilateral compression of the carotid arteries and jugular veins. While this use of force option was only authorized under some of the most volatile situations as an alternative to lethal force, and repeated uses of other force options, I decided it best to suspend use of this technique immediately.

• We have received questions and inquiries about the “8cantwait” platform and have put together a point by point response to those questions on how our Department is aligned with those recommendations. The public can find the response on our Department’s Transparency web page.

• On Monday, June 15th, I will provide an informational report to the City Council and community during the regularly scheduled City Council Meeting on existing policies, procedures, and training related to use of force. To be clear, this will be just the first conversation and we committed to active participation and in ongoing discussions and actions on use of force reforms.

It is not enough to say, “What happened in Minneapolis could never happen here”. It’s not enough to make that assumption or to expect you, the public, to assume it. As a professional organization the Piedmont Police Department continues to assess its existing use-of-force policies and tactics to ensure adherence to evidenced-based best practices, and strives for the safest outcomes for the public and police officers. That said, it is time to look even harder inwardly and communicate with the public about how the police department effectuates use-of-force policy, training and how it is reviewed.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Bowers
Chief of Police