Berkeley Police Association Mailers Contain False Claims

Micky Duxbury,MFT
Monday November 05, 2018 - 11:43:00 AM

I was quite distressed to learn of the $15,247.00 expenditure by the Berkeley Police Association for campaign mailers from Ben Gould’s campaign. These mailers contain false and misleading information – (especially about Kate Harrison’s record) in regards to police training.

Many Berkeley residents have been involved in a campaign to stop Urban Shield: the highly militarized police training that is run by Alameda County Sheriff Ahern. Since the beginning of Urban Shield, there has been a community outcry against the highly militaristic, propagandistic, and often-racist approach to training. Check out any of Urban Shield’s own videos to see for yourself that they have been promoting a fear-based militaristic approach to police training. 

Many of the opponents of Urban Shield, including Kate Harrison, have been clear that we support police, fire, and medical personnel being fully trained for all aspects of emergencies, especially in de-escalation training so that the homeless and mentally ill are treated with dignity and respect and not criminalized. We want Berkeley Police Department to participate in training that is collaborative, but not as SWAT Teams in unrealistic terrorism scenarios that are the primary focus in Urban Shield training. 

We are reminded last week that horrific events like massacres at synagogues happen and we need to be prepared for them. But we can be prepared in ways that promote cultural understanding and do not rely on racist stereotypes; we can create trainings that are based on collaboration with all emergency personnel without them being sponsored by vendors of military weapons such as are on display at Urban Shield. That is why the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted last March that “2018 Urban Shield is to be the last Urban Shield as currently constituted" and they created a new group to work to create a countywide emergency response training. 

Many of us would like an investigation into why the Berkeley Police Union invested so heavily in a smear campaign to characterize votes against Urban Shield as not supporting police training. We need to ask Berkeley Police why they are so invested in damaging one candidate’s campaign when Alameda County Board of Supervisors has agreed that we need a different kind of training that does not emphasize militaristic tactics.