New: Open letter to members of the Berkeley City Council regarding selection of the police chief (Public Comment)

Andrea Prichett, James McFadden et al.
Saturday April 01, 2017 - 03:01:00 PM

It is our understanding that the City Manager is preparing to appoint Andrew Greenwood to be the new permanent Chief of Police for the city of Berkeley. While we appreciate that he is well liked by the City Manager and many officers, we believe that the appointment of a chief requires a process that includes soliciting input from the people of Berkeley. The proposed hire has been done without the benefit of a hiring committee, feedback of any kind from the public or any input from the Police Review Commission. For a position that commands such power and influence over the quality of life in Berkeley and that is accountable only to the City Manager, it is especially crucial that there be a transparent process into which the people of Berkeley can include their comments. If the City Council wants the people of Berkeley to trust and support a new chief, then it is wise to withhold your approval of this hire until a process for making this hire can be created and communicated throughout the city. 

This is more than simply choosing a chief. It is about choosing a direction for our city’s plan for safety and approach to emergency services. Will the new chief continue down the path of militarization of the force or will we choose a chief who has demonstrated a concern for community relations and local input and control? Surely at this time in our nation’s history, it is important to take a serious look at where we want to go and hire people and direct resources that can support the chosen course. 

We also believe that there should be a plan for evaluating the chief. This process of evaluation should be clearly stated and approved by the City Council. It should account for input from stakeholders including the public and the PRC. Clear objectives and measures should be in place as part of the evaluation. Thanks for considering our concerns