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Police use of Taser stun guns to subdue suspects in California and around the nation has increased dramatically in recent years. Billed by their manufacturer, Taser International, as a non-lethal alternative to deadly force, Tasers have been purchased and deployed by a growing number of law enforcement agencies. However, while the Taser is less deadly than a traditional fi rearm, it is hardly the non-lethal weapon its manufacturer promotes under the slogan “Saving Lives Every Day.” Despite a growing number of fatalities in incidents involving police use of tasers, few departments regulate the number of times police may use a taser on an individual or provide any of their own training materials. Local officials can look to pass legislation restricting use of tasers in non-life-threatening situations, adopt taser policies at a local government and department level, and revise current training materials for officers.
This report addresses the broad problem of accountability within the San Francisco Police Department and outlines changes that can be made to build more effective systems of accountability. These changes include adopting stronger whistleblower protections, mandating compliance with and follow up on citizen complaints, and instituting automatic disciplinary investigation triggers. Local officials can use this report to assess current accountability mechanisms within their community and advocate for suitable proposed changes within their own city.
Police officers are authorized to use force in the line of duty to protect the public they serve. However, inappropriate use of this authority can erode trust between the police and the public and undermine the core mandate of the police to “protect and serve.” Between 2001 and 2016, officers of the Fresno Police Department were involved in 146 officer-involved shootings. This high number of shootings, its disparate impact on low-income communities and communities of color, and the department’s policies and practices have significantly damaged police-community relationships. Improved and explicit policies and practices around community engagement and transparency will help to rebuild a foundation of trust and cooperation between police departments and the communities they serve. This report recommends a series of reforms including policy updates and improvements, reallocation of resources for improved officer training, and an expanded and transparent officer-involved shooting review process.
This report focuses on the problems of school bias and pushout, how vulnerable youth populations intersect with one another, and the need to address these complex and overlapping issues in a manner that is respectful of all students served by our education system. The report suggests that a focus on youth leadership and restorative justice can support healthy student interactions and conflict resolution, while improved professional development can better equip teachers and staff to address school environment and culture issues that negatively affect students.
Surveillance technology such as drones, stingrays, and facial recognition software exacerbate discriminatory policing, suppress dissent, and facilitate harm to immigrants and people of color. This guide summarizes some lessons the American Civil Liberties Union of California has learned in the fight against local surveillance. In many cities and counties, communities have passed laws ensuring that decisions about high-tech surveillance are made by the community through the democratic process, not in secret by police and surveillance companies acting alone.
In the name of public safety, Black children in Oakland are arrested at vastly disproportionate rates. This derails their opportunities for educational success while failing to ensure our children’s safety. For arrests reported by the Oakland School Police Department during the last two years, Black youth made up 73% of the department’s arrests despite making up only 30.5% of the district’s student population. The report also reviews national research that shows, among other things, that arrests and contact with the juvenile justice system are significant contributors to high rates of school pushout and negative future outcomes for youth. Recommendations for reform focus on improved school counseling and behavioral intervention, defining and limiting the role of police officers in and around campuses, and creating a citywide policy in partnership with parents and students.