Tag Archives: Berkeley Police Association
As the city of Berkeley ramps up efforts to study whether its police force should carry Tasers, a local coalition has planned a forum Thursday night to collect community feedback on the issue.
The Berkeley City Council voted 6-3 in May to have the city study the thorny question. Council members Max Anderson, Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguín voted against the proposal from council members Laurie Capitelli, Gordon Wozniak and Darryl Moore to get a report from the city manager about Tasers, and have the city’s Police Review Commission consider the subject as well.
Many Berkeley Police officers attended the meeting in May and spoke about the need to carry Tasers, which they say would make officers and those who come into contact with them safer, and also save the city money in the long run. Officers have said data show that departments with Tasers have seen fewer “use of force” complaints, fewer injuries to officers and suspects, and reduced costs associated with on-the-job injuries.
Community members who do not believe police should carry Tasers also shared their concerns: that police have enough weapons, that Berkeley doesn’t have enough crime to justify adding another one, and that there are too many risks associated with Taser shocks. They cited the possibility of pre-existing medical conditions that could increase health risks, as well as concerns about the disproportionate use of Tasers on minorities, the poor and people in mental health crisis.
The city of Berkeley will explore whether a database of private security cameras might help police solve crime more efficiently after a Berkeley City Council majority vote Tuesday night.
Under the proposal, citizens could report camera locations to the Berkeley Police Department. Police would create a registry, which would allow officers to call camera owners quickly should a crime take place. Citizens would not be required to talk to police, and officers would not have instant access to the footage.
Council members Gordon Wozniak and Susan Wengraf, who asked in their proposal for the city manager to study the issue, said it is clear to anyone reading the weekly crime round-up on this website exactly how much crime takes place in Berkeley and where it happens. … Continue reading »
Berkeley Police officers rescued two people from the fire that erupted under the University Avenue Interstate 80 overpass Wednesday. The quick actions of three officers who were first on the scene may have saved the lives of two men trapped in the burning storage enclosure, according to the Berkeley Police Association.
At around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver “noticed the fire” and called for emergency back-up, the association reported. His calls for help were immediately answered by two Berkeley Police Special Victims Unit detectives who were conducting an interview nearby.
They went to the scene of the fire that was raging in a Caltrans storage area containing around 100 Ecology Center recycling cans leased by the city of Berkeley, according to authorities.
“I could hear a man screaming and he was locked inside a chain link fence where the fire was roaring out of control,” said Detective Melissa Kelly, one of the officers who hurried to the scene, assisted by Detective Ana Baber. “We couldn’t get the gate open and had to reach under the fence to rescue the man and get him away from the burning fire.” … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley is on the hunt to determine who released private police personnel documents related to a confidential investigation — into an in-custody death involving local officers last year — to UC Berkeley’s Daily Californian newspaper.
Thursday evening, Berkeley city manager Christine Daniel notified the mayor and council members about the leak, which she described to them via email as “an unfortunate and concerning event that occurred regarding confidential police personnel information.”
Daniel wrote that the Daily Cal had told the city it had gotten “confidential personnel-specific findings” from the Police Review Commission’s inquest into the in-custody death of Kayla Moore last year. (Moore’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city over that fatality.)
According to a letter from an attorney representing the Berkeley Police Association (BPA) — the union for local officers — the release of that information is a criminal offense. Attorney Harry Stern, of Rains Lucia Stern, wrote also that the Police Review Commission (PRC) could be subject to civil liability “for this invasion of privacy and defamation.” … Continue reading »
Taser report: Tool could save Berkeley millions, decrease use of force, but oversight and training would be key
Berkeley officials plan to consider in early May whether to take their first deep look at whether the city’s police officers should be allowed to carry Tasers.
But it won’t exactly be the first time the issue has been studied by the city. A lengthy report — obtained via a Public Records Act request from Berkeleyside to the Berkeley Police Department — took a look in 2011 at potential costs and benefits tied to Taser use, but the report was never publicly distributed or shared with council members, and did not prompt any action within the Police Department.
According to the comprehensive report, which was completed as part of a master’s degree in public policy by a then-UC Berkeley student and former UC Berkeley police officer, the city could save millions of dollars and, potentially, save lives if the city made the investment in Tasers.
But the report also looks closely at reported risks associated with Taser use, particularly in terms of medical problems that have been linked to stun gun shocks, as well as financial liabilities. … Continue reading »
Councilman Laurie Capitelli has drafted an item to request a report from the city manager about the possible use of Tasers by police in Berkeley, along with consideration of the idea by the city’s Police Review Commission.
Capitelli said it was last week’s violent attack on a Berkeley Police officer at Aquatic Park that brought about the current proposal. A man has been charged with attempted murder in that case. … Continue reading »
The president of the Berkeley Police Association is asking city officials to consider the use of Tasers by Berkeley officers after a violent attack on an officer Monday.
The police association, the union for the rank and file, has been asking publicly for Tasers since at least last year. According to association president Sgt. Chris Stines, 95% of California’s law enforcement agencies use Tasers, but Berkeley is not among them.
Last fall, after a man tried to stab himself to death in Berkeley, Stines said officers with Tasers would have been able to resolve that situation with less injury. Since then, Stines said this week, there have been at least four other incidents, including Monday’s attack, in which Tasers would have made a difference. … Continue reading »
A team of Berkeley Police officers took first place at a recent Bay Area competition to gauge their preparedness in a 48-hour series of grueling emergency response drills, authorities said this week.
The fifth annual Bay Area Urban Shield event, which is organized by the Alameda County sheriff’s department, took place Oct. 25-28 in locations around the region.
The federally-funded program is managed by the National Incident Management System and the Standard Emergency Management System, according to organizers. The program was created to train first responders in how to handle disaster scenarios in the communities they serve. Police and fire first responders in many cities, such as San Francisco, Austin and Dallas, along with international teams from Brazil, Israel, France and other countries, have participated.
Sgt. Christian Stines, president of the Berkeley Police Association, said Berkeley’s team of participants this year bested 34 other SWAT and emergency responder teams from around the globe to score highest in this year’s contest. … Continue reading »
Last week the Berkeley Police Assocation put out a public demand for Tasers for local officers, and Berkeleyside followed up with several questions to city leaders about the issue.
Several leaders declined to comment. Others didn’t respond at all. Most of those who did reply said more research would be needed, and an in-depth conversation would need to take place before any action could be considered.
The association said Berkeley is one of just three Bay Area law enforcement agencies — out of 113 — that isn’t already armed with Tasers or considering their use.
The group said a recent suicide attempt could have been avoided if Berkeley police had Tasers, and also cited a recent officer injury that may well have been avoided too. Not having the tool decreases officer and public safety, said the association, and ends up costing the city money in worker’s comp claims and associated costs. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Police Association says Tasers could have helped prevent the near-death of a man who stabbed himself repeatedly last week in Berkeley, according to a statement released Wednesday morning by the organization’s president.
Last week, Berkeley officers responded to a home where a man was threatening to slit his throat with a knife. When officers arrived, the man had at least two knives and was saying he wanted to kill himself.
According to the statement, police made “every attempt” to negotiate with the man “to calm him down and get him to release the knives,” but the attempts were unsuccessful. “The man stabbed himself repeatedly causing massive trauma, and life threatening injuries. Police officers on the scene applied battlefield medicine techniques to stop the bleeding, ultimately saving the community member’s life.”
Had Berkeley officers had Tasers, the man could have been disarmed and taken to receive care, argued the association. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Police Association (BPA) today released the results of an email survey which it says show residents supporting the investigation of the use of Tasers in Berkeley.
“We want Tasers now,” said Sgt. Emily Murphy, a board member of the BPA, which represents 168 Berkeley officers. “Tasers save lives and reduce injuries caused by physical force or firearm use.”
The Berkeley Police Department is one of only eight law enforcement agencies out of 113 in the Bay Area that does not allow Tasers. Five of the others are currently investigating adopting the equipment (including UC Police Department). … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Police Officers Association has sent out a survey to 19,000 Berkeley residents asking them their opinion on police use of Tasers.
The BPA posed seven questions in a March 27 email survey to see whether the community considers Tasers as way to assist police and protect suspects, or the opposite.
“This is a very initial step to find out what the community sense is … and go from there,” said Sgt. Chris Stines, the president of the BPA, which represents more than 150 rank-and-file officers. … Continue reading »
After lengthy negotiations, the City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Police Association (BPA) have reached agreement on a new three-year contract that forgoes cost of living increases, creates a second tier CalPERS pension formula for new employees, mandates cost sharing by employees in the employer’s contribution to CalPERS, and significantly changes retiree health benefits.
The new agreement was approved by the BPA at a July meeting by 107-21. It will be considered by the City Council at its September 11 meeting.
“I think it’s a fair agreement,” said Tim Kaplan, president of the BPA. “It was a long process, but it really was the true sense of collective bargaining. There was a lot of work done by the Police Association negotiating team to come up with creative solutions to the problems the city was facing. The state of the economy is not lost on our members at all. We’re helping in a number of ways through concessions.” … Continue reading »