Fresno Police Reform Team Starts Work That Could Last a Year – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2021-04-30 20:07:26 –

A week after a Minneapolis police officer was convicted of killing George Floyd, the Fresno Police Reform Implementation Team began operations.

A team of eight members, led by a former councilor and last year’s committee chairman Oliver Baines, met for the first time on Tuesday.

Baines wore a huge bandage on the left side of his face after being victimized by the assault last week. He talked about the purpose of the implementation team at a public Zoom conference.

“We think of this in a very mechanical way, not whether we do something, but how we do it,” says Baines. “Our role is very narrow. We have 31 recommendations we would like to work with.”

The rest of the Reform Commission’s 73 recommendations can be implemented by the mayor, council, or police.

Police chief considers using enforcement guidelines

Police chief Paco Balderrama said there are departmental advisory staff who act on recommendations. He is actively reviewing eight policies, including the use of force.

“We have to do it slowly, and we have to do it right,” Valderrama said.

Only one member, D’Aungillique Jackson, was absent. Baines still acknowledged her role in bringing reform conversations to the table. Last year, Jackson, chairman of the NAACP’s Fresno state branch, organized a strong protest of 3,000 people after the death of George Floyd.

“It’s how we saw a lot of anxiety across the country and how our community got together and had what I thought was just a model of a peaceful demonstration. It was a moment of great pride for many of us in the city. “

The best way to handle mental health calls

As part of the meeting, Baines created a smaller working group to focus on specific recommendations. He said the strategy worked well last year on a 39-member reform committee. Baines talked about releasing police from first responders to mental health calls.

“The job is very hard. This will probably be a lot heavier lift than we think,” Baines said.

Mayor Jerry Dyer said there were plans to reduce contact between police and homeless people.

Baines estimates that implementation can take a year.

The team will meet again a month later to update the progress made within the small working group.

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