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Council Approves Study of Diversity Plan

At its Tuesday, Jan. 18, meeting, the City Council voted 4-1 to tap into the talents of Seed Collaborative to draw up a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Plan. Councilwoman Trish Herrera Spencer cast the lone dissenting vote, saying the that she found the $250,000 price tag too steep.

On its website, https://seedcollab.com, Seed Collaborative states that they believe working toward an equitable and sustainable future means thinking and working in new ways by reimagining how power and resources are shared and creating new systems and structures that redefine how institutions partner with the people they serve.

Seed Collaborative worked with the City of Dublin to create plan. Dublin appointed a task force to draw up a proposal. Task force members thanked Seed Collaborative’s Paul C. Hudson and Rodas Hailu for their “insight, guidance, and assistance.”

A look at the Dublin Plan might provide some insight into what Alameda might expect when Seed Collaborative reports to the City Council in March 2023. Residents of the City of Alameda might use this report as a barometer for what they might expect. Seed Collaborative has also worked with the City of San Leandro.

With Seed Collaborative’s guidance, the Dublin task force grouped its recommendations to its City Council in two broad categories.

  • Policing recommendations. This category addressed accountability, alternatives to the using the police, transparency and hiring. Dublin Police Services (DPS) serves the city as a part of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO). The city’s Chief of Police is Sheriff’s Office Commander Garret Holmes.
  • Citywide diversity, equity and inclusion. The task force study stressed the importance of fairness and justice, as well as the value of creating access, opportunity and advancement that includes everyone.

Alameda Post — Inclusion

Police accountability: The task force recommended the formation of a Dublin Police Advisory Commission. If implemented this commission would monitor how DPS implements the task force’s approved recommendations. The commission would also advocate for greater transparency, evaluate data and receive public input and comment.

Police response: Members of the task force also concluded that the “key to smart policing is creation of multidisciplinary mobile crisis teams.” Rather than DPS responding to every call, these teams would respond to and address non-violent situations. They would also connect individuals experiencing mental health disorders to supportive services.

The task force recommended collaborating with ACSO to implement “co-responder teams consisting of one police officer and one licensed mental-health professional. These teams would respond to situations where people are experiencing a severe mental-health crisis that could pose a threat to safety to themselves or others.

Transparency: A study done by ArcGIS Solutions concluded that a police department’s sharing information openly with the public not only helps promote a police department’s work, but“demonstrates accountability when force is used, illustrates how workforce recruiting reflects the diversity of the community, and engages the public to improve policing services and solve problems.” The Dublin task force stated that sharing reliable and comprehensive data is “critical to developing solutions to reduce biases, improve policies and enhance community police relations.”

The task force recommended that, Dublin “should publish information regarding DPS complaints and commendations data on the City’s Data Transparency Portal.” In addition, the Dublin task force recommended the city collect and release traffic-stop data to “monitor for racial bias in DPS stops and help address criminalization and over-policing for minor crimes and infractions.”

The task force pointed to “extensive evidence and research showing that, nationally, police stops occur more frequently for Black and Latino drivers and that suspicion of criminality is informed by racial bias.” Reporting this data to the public creates transparency on how DPS conducts it policing and would likely reduce the number of police stops

Regarding citywide diversity, equity and inclusion, the task force state that Dublin “must develop processes and policies that make City programs, events and resources more accessible. Dublin must also work to “facilitate more diversity of thought, culture, perspective, and that create a city where everyone belongs. In order to facilitate this, the task force recommended that Dublin “identify various touch points/opportunities to obtain demographic data from Dublin residents. “Data informs strategies and supports accountability,” the report stated.

The City of Dublin needs to continue to identify opportunities and develop tools and strategies to make participation on commissions, boards and task forces, and involvement with programs and events more diverse, the task force concluded. This diversity should reflect the many cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds present in Dublin. Particularly where DPS is concerned, the task force recommended that Dublin hire police officers that reflect the diversity of the city. This practice would enhance DPS’ relations with city and “would reduce violent responses to incidents.”

Read the City of Dublin’s report, https://www.dublin.ca.gov/2226/Community-Task-Force-on-Equity-Diversity. Scroll down and click on the word “here” to open the entire report.

Dennis Evanosky is the Editor of the Alameda Post. Reach him at [email protected].

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