At the September 1st Glendale City Council meeting, the police department requested a new five-year contract on taser equipment. In a time where the council and police were being asked to thoughtfully review their approach to community policing in light of the nationwide calls for reform and Glendale’s own racist history, I appealed to the council to table the request until a full evaluation on use of force approaches could be made.
My letter, which was included in a September 3 article by the Crescenta Valley Weekly newspaper, reads:
Mr. Mayor, Council Members and Chief Povilaitis,
I am writing to ask the council to table the police department’s request to enter into a five year agreement to purchase tasers for its officers. There are number of reasons, but I’ll focus on the most important one.
In a moment when our city’s people of color, Black and Brown, are pleading for police reform, this action of adding more tools to enforce law and order will communicate that Glendale is still Glendale. The symbolism is clear.
I ask you as our city’s leaders to not approve another item that is used to keep people in line until the police department, city manager’s office and concerned citizens, like those on the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale start discussing ways to improve community care which will not only reduce violence but increase citizen happiness.
If, after initiating new approaches to community peace and well-being, the use of tasers needs to be explored again, that will be the time to do so.
Thanks you for prioritizing a forward-thinking approach to governance and law enforcement.
Unfortunately, my letter’s argument, while appreciated by a couple council members and lumped into the category of an anti-police rant by another, carried no influence with any. The new contract was approved 5-0.
While tasers are a less violent alternative, we as community members need to rethink everything about policing in order to protect and serve all of our citizens and reduce the dangers and stress loads that our men and women in blue experience.