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Berkeley Considers Unarmed Public Works Officials For Enforcing Traffic And Parking Violations. How Will That Work?




Buena Park police officer James Woo, left, Orange County District Attorney investigator Francisco Reynoso, center, and Buena Park police officer Luis Garcia look over their paperwork.
Buena Park police officer James Woo, left, Orange County District Attorney investigator Francisco Reynoso, center, and Buena Park police officer Luis Garcia look over their paperwork.
Bruce Chambers/Orange County Register

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The city of Berkeley is considering a proposal that would shift enforcement of moving and parking violations onto public works officials instead of the police. According to the New York Times, proponents believe the measure to be the first of its kind in the country. 

Councilmember Rigel Robinson introduced the proposal called “BerkDOT: Reimagining Transportation for a Racially Just Future,” which aims to help tear down racial bias and police brutality. The nation is reckoning with the problems of systemic racism and a history of police brutality following the death of  George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis at the end of May. Floyd’s killing ignited global protests demanding changes in how police departments are operated and even funded. Specifically, the new measure would create a department of transportation unit of unarmed officials who would enforce parking and traffic infractions. Some say the move makes a lot of sense for parking breaches, but there could be challenges when it comes to traditional traffic stops.

Today on AirTalk, we talk through the proposal. What are your thoughts? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722. 

We reached out to the Berkeley police department. The department says it does not comment on council legislation.

Guests:

Tommy Tunson, retired chief of police in California with 30 years experience in law enforcement, including in the cities of Calexico, Coachella, South Gate and Arvin, he's now a criminal justice professor at Bakersfield College

Ken Barone, researcher at the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy (IMRP) at Central Connecticut State University who studies racial profiling in police traffic stops, he’s been the project manager for the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project for over a decade