Over the past year, crime has risen in Berkeley and the Berkeley Police Department is working to address this issue.
At the same time, the police have received a higher volume of mental health calls, which tie them up and prevent them from doing more routine patrols.
To complicate matters, high-profile incidents of police brutality around the country have eroded the public's trust in our law enforcement.
We know that respect and trust between city residents and BPD officers is crucial to keeping our communities safe and secure.
That’s why, in addition to adding five new officers in the coming year, body cameras will be issued to every BPD officer starting Fall 2017.
Body cameras have been shown to decrease misconduct and use of force and will be required whenever police engage in a traffic stop or have other interactions with a community member.
Finally, we are working to find an alternative to Urban Shield, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's training program that many residents have said militarizes the police. The city has created a subcommittee to assess other ways our police can receive valuable training to assist during natural disasters and other critical incidents.
These are tough times to be a police officer. Through continued community engagement, training, Neighborhood Watch and other activities, we hope to strengthen the relationship between all Berkeley residents and the men and women of the Berkeley Police Department.