Tag Archives: Police culture

California joins 46 other states, can now decertify bad cops

Open Letter: Holding Police Accountable, particularly in Vallejo

Vallejo Times-Herald, by Susan George, October 8, 2021

On Sept. 30, California joined 46 other states with the legal means to decertify bad cops, those who engage in serious misconduct. Thanks to the hard work of state Sen. Steven Bradford, Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill 2, the Kenneth Ross, Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021.

While important for California, this legislation is particularly meaningful for Vallejo, where 19 — mostly young Black and Brown men — have been killed by Vallejo police since 2010. This is one of the highest rates in the country. Fourteen officers — aptly named “the fatal 14” — have been involved in multiple killings with no consequences. They leave behind the devastating loss of their victims’ family members and civil rights settlements for their misconduct paid out by the city, totaling some of the highest in the nation.

Elected Vallejo Assembly District 14 delegates Brenda Crawford, Susan George, Ruscal Cayangyang, Susannah Delano and Thomas Bilbo successfully joined forces with all Region 2 delegates last March to ensure that SB 2 was formally endorsed by the California Democratic Party. Assembly Member Timothy Grayson and Sen. Bill Dodd both signed off on the bill.

This legislation is an important step in holding Vallejo police accountable, but ongoing community action and proper enforcement will be critical to any lasting change.

— Susan George/Vallejo

Video: author Rosa Brooks takes us inside police officer training and culture

By Roger Straw, March 17, 2021

I was taken by yesterday’s Lawrence O’Donnell MSNBC interview of Rosa Brooks, author of Tangled Up in Blue, a “radical inside examination of policing in modern America.”

Brooks is a Georgetown University law professor who mid-career decided to train and serve as a reserve police officer in Washington D.C.   Her inside perspective gives a close-up look at policing, good and bad.

The interview is posted on Youtube, (and here below) with the following introduction:  “Brooks says throughout academy training, police officers are ‘primed to think that a threat could come from anywhere at any time,’ but they must remember their ‘top priority is protecting the communities they serve.’

In light of recent news stories of extremist anti-government views among officers in nearby Vacaville, one begins to wonder about police training and “culture” in the Solano County sheriff department.  Benicia’s former Chief Erik Upson is serious about “community policing” and a “positive police culture.”  Let’s hope his perspective has taken root and continues deep in the culture of our local cops.