It's a policy solutions platform to end police violence in the United States.
To this day, the Federal Government does not collect comprehensive data on people killed by police or any of the forms of police violence in our communities.
So, in early 2015, the most comprehensive database was created called Mapping Police Violence. If we can identify the places that have reduced police violence significantly, we can understand how to do this in other places.
SS: That's right and if the police chief refuses, the city council can pass an ordinance requiring it. Your state legislators can pass laws requiring this for every department in the state. Congress can pass a law that would condition federal funding on the adoption of these types of policies. There is research going back to the 1970s, proving that changing these use of force standards, significantly reduces police shooting. And yet, most departments have not done this. That's one example of an area where we know we can make progress but many places are refusing to do so.
There are a whole range of responses. Things like somebody having a mental health crisis, substance abuse or a whole bunch of issues that police are currently being called to respond to. There are people who are better trained, who are mental health professionals, who are substance abuse counselors, who are community conflict de-escalators that can much more effectively respond to those issues without using violence.
SS: Public record requests are really important to getting so much of the data that we've obtained and the policy information.
So, when we got the use of force policies and the police union contracts from the hundred largest cities across the country, that was through public records request through a platform called MuckRock.com. They made it really easy. You really just create an account, pick what agency, put in a couple of lines about what you want from the agency and click "Send". They manage the rest. That's where we got access to all of these documents that have never been made public before and that allowed us to start doing analyses.
They had negotiated these contracts and nobody had read them. In many cases, we had met with city councils, who had not read the contracts that they voted to approve. Some of these contracts were egregious. For example, in Cleveland, in the contract it says, all records of officers disciplined, should be expunged or destroyed after a period between 1 and 2 years. So, if you're a police officer working for 15 years in the Cleveland police department with this huge record of misconduct, they would have no idea. Even the police department doesn't have it because they agreed to destroy the evidence.
Things like that are hiding in plain sight.
In some places, it's the city manager that has the hiring and firing power.
But the city council is really important because they can pass ordinances that require the police department to do things differently, even if the police chief may not necessarily have done that on his or her own. It's going to take an analysis of who in your local government
- has the decision making power and
- doing an analysis of, are they actually going to come on board with this and if not, what are the other tools in my toolkit to put enough pressure on enough legislators to force their hand.
Managing with Sickle Cell:
Stay hydrated. Health & Wellness. Self-care. Take your insulin regularly.
Limit your stress. Brisk walks, maybe 2 miles a day. Stay active.
Get up and move around. Eat healthy.
Make good choices with what you eat because you don't want those blood vessels to narrow even further because of plaque, disease and high cholesterol.