With community concerns over the standards of policing at an all time high, the release of the ‘Preliminary Report of the Culver City Review of Public Safety Services: Recommendations to Advance Racial Equity and Social Justice’ is a major disappointment. With two outside firms brought in to support the study, both Solidarity Consulting and Center for Public Safety Management (CPSM) serving as technical advisors to the city’s task force, the report does not even qualify as window dressing; less than 3% of the budget is proposed to be shifted in minor ways, along with a serious lack of data to support the recommendations in the report.
Beginning with some very high minded statements in regard to racial equity, social justice and intersectional and multi-disciplinary strategies, it turns out to be 17 pages of bureaucratic non-answers, without crucial references to actual data.
As one example, in the section “Pathways to Reallocating Public Safety Resources I) Remove Police from Emergency Response Calls Involving the Unhoused, Mental Health, and Substance Use” readers are offered the absurd and remarkable statement that “Unfortunately, the dispatch data which could allow for a more concrete analysis of the current amount of calls, nature of police-community interaction, and disposition of emergency responses involving people who are unhoused, under the influence of substances, or mental health incidents, was not released during the 90-day review period.”
Since the Task Force was specifically set up to analyze this information, it’s not unfortunate. It’s deliberate.
With the inclusion of information from the Finance Advisory Committee, the report noters that “CCPD sworn personnel make 2 times as much in total pay than other Culver City employees and 4 times as much in ‘Other Pay’ than other city employees. Almost 30% of the CCPD budget for salaries is spent on ‘Other Pay/Cash Compensation,’ not base salaries for police officers. CCPD’s total budget is 4 times the budget for the City’s park, recreation, and community services, 22X the budget for housing protections/rental assistance and homelessness projects and 144X the budget for after-school programs.”
The report cites Former City Treasurer [Crystal Alexander] who has served on the Finance Advisory Committee as an appointed volunteer, quoted as observing “If the current [police department] expenditure levels continue, ‘all city services will eventually be impacted.’”
Moving school crossing guards, animal services and parking enforcement to other city departments will save the CCPD – not the city, just the police department – a tiny 2.8% of the budget.
Since the police are still looking to hire outside security guards to staff the city jail, the slight amount of money saved by moving things like parking enforcement to another department would be even more slight.
The council voted on supporting research into a 50% reduction, and this report does not even approach 5%.