UC Berkeley chancellor addresses independent advisory board’s policing, safety recommendations

UCPD Car
Ariel Hayat/File
UC Berkeley administration has worked to relocate UCPD headquarters away from the center of campus, shifted some responsibilities of law enforcement to other campus entities and created a team of mental health professionals to serve as first responders.

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On Wednesday, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ released campus’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Board on Police Accountability and Community Safety.

After the formation of the Independent Advisory Board on Police Accountability and Community Safety, or IAB, in 2019, the board began drafting its first annual report to submit for campus approval. Its goals consisted of addressing inequity and assessing the necessary changes to campus policing practices and community safety resources.

According to campus’s response, it accepted all but a few of IAB’s recommendations.

“I have no higher priority than ensuring every aspect of campus operations, particularly public safety, is consistent with, and supportive of our Principles of Community, racial justice, and our commitment that every single individual in our community feel a true sense of belonging,” Christ said in a campuswide email. “In each of these areas we will do better.”

So far, UC Berkeley administration has worked to relocate UCPD headquarters away from the center of campus, shifted some responsibilities of law enforcement to other campus entities and created a team of mental health professionals to serve as first responders. 

Mental health awareness training will also be incorporated into UCPD’s training curriculum to educate officers on the impacts of their actions. This training is planned to be implemented beginning June 30.

Campus also completed an inventory review of UCPD tools and equipment, and in June, it revised the UCPD use-of-force policy to ban carotid holds. 

“Further work on, and changes to use-of-force policies must take place on a systemwide basis under the direction of the Office of the President, as there is a single policy for the UC system,” the campus response states. “On the Berkeley campus we will continue to work to promote positive interactions with the community.”

In addition, campus has agreed to make reporting more accessible and improve data transparency regarding policing outcomes on and near campus. IAB faculty co-chair Rucker Johnson said this transparency will enable IAB to play an important role in making evidence-based recommendations to the chancellor.

“We have emphasized to administration leaders the importance of transparency, of which data access to perform data analyses will be important to progress our work ahead—including analysis of stops, searches, uses of force, calls for service, mental health crisis response, crime statistics, levels of staffing & budget data,” Johnson said in an email.

Campus’s response also noted that the pace at which the recommendations will be implemented will vary based on the time and resources each one warrants.

Ultimately, IAB appreciated Christ’s “thoughtful” and “detailed” response to its recommendations, according to Johnson.

“The Chancellor’s strong show of support — and that of the broader campus community — of the IAB work, charge & mission mean a lot,” Johnson said in the email. “As IAB faculty co-chair, we look forward to working together to advance the next steps.”

Contact Veronica Roseborough at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @v_roseborough.