The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College Police Department uses Campaign Zero as guide for reform

LRPD cars sit in designated parking in front of City College’s District Police Building. (James Fife/[email protected]

Since the death of George Floyd in May at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, protestors have gathered in many large metropolitan cities to demand changes in police operations. Advocates have called for reforms to the United States’ policing system. Although Floyd’s death has sparked a movement this year, it is not the first time a Black American was killed while in contact with police.

Created by activists Brittany Packnett, Samuel Sinyangwe, DeRay McKesson and Johnette Elize in 2015, Campaign Zero is serving as a model for the Los Rios Community College District.

According to City College Police Captain Valerie Cox, Campaign Zero was chosen as an outline to evaluate district police operations because it has a clear approach to address changes.

“Campaign Zero offered a framework for us to be proactive in creating our own reforms,” said Cox. “We used the framework to implement our own strategies in order to build better relationships with our community.”

Campaign Zero outlines 10 reform directives to de-escalate interactions between police and citizens, including demilitarization, new standards for limited use of force and incorporating community oversight. Cox said the LRPD has used these directives to create training focused on working with marginalized communities and to add additional assistance for those struggling with mental health issues.

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“We have [a] monthly training that is focused on social justice, our communities of color and educating our officers on how to better serve them,” said Cox. “We train on implicit bias and de-escalation strategies—any training we think might get our officers the best tools to be effective in serving our community.”

Cox said that she wants City College students to feel safe in the presence of campus police and her goal is to listen and work with the community and officers to better develop a relationship between the two. She said that the district has created two advisory committees to represent the community served by the LRPD.

“One [committee] is called the Community Advisory Committee Group, which will be made up of diverse members from the Los Rios community,” said Cox. “The purpose of this group is to provide active engagement and feedback on LRPD practices and policies. The other group is called the Student Safety Advisory Committee, and this will be made up of students. That way students can share their needs and concerns about policing on campus.“

According to Kelly Gould, City College administration of justice department chair, the police department is working to implement Campaign Zero’s directives into its curriculum. This summer, Gould attended Zoom conferences with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training as well as with district officials to discuss issues affecting the department. Gould said she anticipates that reform currently underway will be seen by the start of spring 2021.

“The purpose of these meetings was to discuss the direction that our district’s compass is pointing in relation to how our curriculum serves our students,” Gould said, “and further, how our curriculum addresses real social issues such as crime prevention, victim rights, police recruitment, and training, and ethical decision making and professionalism standards for the criminal justice professional.”

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