The Police Review Commission gathered for a special meeting Wednesday evening to discuss Berkeley Police Department’s delay in releasing data regarding stop reasons and use of force.
The meeting ended with a unanimous motion by the commission in favor of the police department immediately releasing any available data. The verdict, however, was strictly a suggestion, because as an advisory board, the PRC cannot compel BPD to release the data.
The data, which BPD began collecting in January 2015, will be released in the form of a Center for Policing Equity, or CPE, report, according to PRC secretary Katherine Lee. CPE is a nonprofit that works collaboratively with law enforcement. It took on the project of releasing a report in September 2015. At the meeting, community members and commissioners expressed their frustration that two years later, a report still has not been released.
According to BPD Chief Andrew Greenwood, BPD has been sent a draft interim report of the data that is not ready to be shared with the public. At the meeting, Greenwood said he hopes the final report will be released in three months but also added that the release depends on CPE’s assets.
Greenwood mentioned additional obstacles to the report’s release. The interim draft report does not include use of force data or data from 2016, and CPE was not able to access 30 percent of the 2015 data on the cause of each stop.
“We want the report to be complete and comprehensive, to have rock-solid data in its analytical framework, and to provide the most value for our community and our discussion of the issues,” Greenwood said in an email last week to the PRC.
Commissioner George Perezvelez, however, suggested that Greenwood ask CPE to release the 2015 data promptly “on its own.”
Commissioner Andrea Prichett expressed a similar sentiment, suggesting that use of force data can be added later in the form of a supplemental report.
In regards to the stop reason data, commissioner George Lippman said he has looked through data that was sent to CPE and did not see any blank entries in the stop field, contrary to Greenwood’s claim that CPE did not receive this data.
Lippman also criticized the fact that the data does not include a “hit rate,” or a record of how many of the stops resulted in citation, arrest or discovery of an illegal substance. According to Lippman, the absence of a hit rate is “one of the most concerning aspects” of the report because “that is what shows disparity (in treatment of different races) most clearly.”
Throughout the meeting, community members called for the immediate release of the existing data as well.
“We really would like a clean report that we can … analyze for ourselves and move forward with greater trust in the police department,” said Mansour Id-Deen, president of the Berkeley branch of the NAACP.