The City of Berkeley has an excellent police force, whose dedicated officers truly care about the community they serve. Over the past decade, crime rates in our city have dropped significantly, reflecting a national trend. However, this success has been tempered by an increase in the homeless population, which has diverted officer resources and left less time for patrols and special investigations. Mayor Arreguin understands that public safety is at the core of a thriving community and is committed to helping the Berkeley Police Department attract new officers. As part of this commitment, Mayor Arreguin voted in favor of a 7% pay increase in the new police contract, signed July 2018, which he hopes will encourage more officers to join the department.
The mayor’s goals in 2019 are to enhance our community policing program to bring back bike patrols, officers who walk the beat and deepen relationships between police and the community. The city already devotes approximately 40% of General Fund spending on public safety and will continue to prioritize this issue in order to keep our residents safe.
Strengthening Community Relationships
In 2014, Mayor Arreguin introduced legislation to outfit every BPD officer with a body camera as a way of increasing trust between police and residents, and adding transparency to police work. Body cameras have been shown to decrease misconduct and use of force incidents, and will be required whenever police engage in a traffic stop or have other interactions with residents. The Mayor also hopes that body cameras will reduce racial disparities in police stops, searches and uses of force by the department identified in a 2016 report by the Center of Policing Equity, a non-partisan think tank.
Commitment to Restorative Justice
As part of his commitment to Berkeley’s young people, Mayor Arreguin is also working to expand restorative justice programs to divert young and non-violent offenders from the criminal justice system and give them a chance to learn from their mistakes. Our youth are our future and we must make sure that each and every one of them is given ample opportunity to succeed.
Listen to a video address by Mayor Arreguin from September 2018 on steps the city is taking to increase public safety.