OBS Launches Quality Policing Initiative

In December 2014, Organization for Black Struggle launched their Quality Policing Initiative:

The killings of Mike Brown, Kajieme Powell, Vonderrit Myers and others are not the result of abnormal incidents resulting in accidents, nor do these killings reflect “one bad apple” police officer. It is a manifestation of a system of policing that is unaccountable, out of control and acts from its worst impulses of racism and aggression. It sees black and brown citizens as individual targets and whole communities as collective threats. The existing situation means that too frequently there will be random and unlawful executions of individual targets, and police forces will have negative and even predatory relationships with the communities that they are supposed to be serving and protecting, instead of killing and harassing.

As a result of the current system of policing we have been stripped of our citizenship and robbed of our Constitutional and Human Rights by the very people we pay and empower to protect these rights. This is intolerable, but there is a solution that maintains our best values and creates the proper relationship between policing authorities and the people who vote them into office and pay for their protection. That solution is the Quality Policing Initiative.

We want a Quality Policing Initiative that is based on the concept that police are hired to defend the personal safety and the Civil, Constitutional and Human Rights of every person they serve and protect first and foremost.

Our Quality Policing Initiative makes all five phases of policing authority—(1) recruitment, (2) training, (3) deployment, (4) accountability and (5) advancement—responsive to the communities that they are policing and to the elected officials who regulate and deploy them.

Our Quality Policing Initiative can be reached many ways. Any one piece of it is a step in the proper direction but only by adding significant community-driven involvement, as spelled out in the Initiative, can we truly put policing into a proper relationship with the community it is empowered to protect and serve.

We are asking that St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the St. Louis County Police Department and the 42 individual police departments voluntarily sign on to our Quality Policing Initiative and to work with the community to put the model in place.

We are advocating legislation at the state, county and local levels to make our Quality Policing Initiative law and will be holding elected officials accountable for the present levels of oppression, violence and impunity that defines most police relationships. Every death and/or injury going forward is and continues to be the fault of the elected officials who have allowed this predatory system to continue to grow.

We will be working with human rights and other organizations to compel the Department Of Justice to do its job and hold every policing body in St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis accountable for their demonstrated lack of accountability. We will be advocating for the investigation, monitoring, control and even dissolution of any policing body opposed to our Quality Policing Initiative.

We will be working to dismantle the current structure that undergirds the Human and Civil Rights violating relationship between the community and the policing authorities. We will change the culture one politician, police officer and law at a time.

Below are the components of the Quality Policing Initiative:

Recruitment:

  1. Residency Requirements: Police Officers must live within the jurisdiction that they police.
  2. Affirmative Action: hiring for racial and gender parity is a minimum requirement so that the police reflect the population they are policing.

Training:

  1. Enhanced Personal Unarmed Combat Training: Police should have to qualify in unarmed combat to give them more confidence and less dependence on their weapons in street encounters.
  2. Conflict Resolution Training: An officer should be taught to and rewarded for deploying de-escalation/conflict resolution training.
  3. Threat Progression Training: Police should be taught that there are different levels of response to the public so that they only use force as a last resort, and then only against violent individuals.
  4. Anti-Racism Training: An officer must be trained in cultural core competencies.

Deployment:

  1. Demilitarize All Police Forces: Withdraw from the Department Of Defense 1033  (DOD 1033) Program and withdraw from the Forfeiture/Seizure Program to buy military grade gear.
  2. Stop Using the Police as Collection Agents: Remove ticket quotas and fees and fines as primary mechanisms to fund municipal government.
  3. Implementation of field contact cards or reports for traffic stops and investigative stops based on suspicion of criminal activity containing race and gender of persons stopped: The cards should be retained for 24 months and, in addition to the age, race and gender of the person stopped should include (a) the officer’s name, race, and badge number; (b) approximate time and location; (c) whether the stop involved a frisk or pat-down search; (d) any weapons, evidence or contraband found during the search; (e) whether the individual involved was arrested or cited, and if so, the charges.
  4. SWAT/Lethal Force Parameters: Designed in conjunction with the Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project.
  5.  First Response Escalation Model: Police responses will not begin at lethal force but will scale up to it and the guidelines will be designed in conjunction with the Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project.

Accountability:

  1. Creation of an effective and automated Early Warning System: In order to produce an effective disciplinary/rewards system we recommend that there be an automated Early Warning System that consists of a database that takes into account the following:  (a) numbers and patterns of disciplinary complaints against each officer by citizens and police personnel; (b) allegations of racial bias and domestic violence, civil actions against the officer; (c) use of force as documented in the “use of force” reports; (d), illegal entries and searches as documented in the “search and seizure” reports; (e) other reliable indicia of “at risk” officers and which recommends increased monitoring, supervision, and/or counseling of the officer when the threshold for triggering action by the Early Warning System is reached.
  2. Media Accountability System: Body and Dash cameras where the data is controlled by a Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project entity and shared with the community and police together.
  3. A Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project: The Board must have subpoena, investigatory and prosecution powers. The Board should also have a role in developing police policies and setting standards that impact all five areas of policing (recruitment, training, deployment, accountability and advancement).
  4. Civilian complainants must be treated equally with the accused officer: We propose and recommend that civilian complainants be treated equally with the officer in question. Both the civilian and the officer must be questioned in the same detail about the alleged conduct, the officer’s word must not automatically be accepted over that of the civilian, and reasons must be given for sustaining or not sustaining all cases.
  5. Consideration of substance and patterns of civilian complaints of officer misconduct by the Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project (CAP) and Internal Affairs Division (IAD) investigators and supervisors: We propose and recommend that the substance and patterns of all civilian complaints of police misconduct against an officer be considered by police disciplinary investigators, supervisors, and internal auditors, and that disciplinary complaints of misconduct be included in the periodic evaluations of officers, considered in promotion decisions and that nothing in the Police Union contract shall be interpreted to interfere with this.
  6. We propose a Four Step disciplinary process: Investigation, findings and disciplinary recommendation of CAP and IAD investigators should be made available to the public wherein Civil litigation or Civil Rights may have been violated and to the County Prosecutor’s Office. (a) Review and concurrence or non-concurrence by CAP or IAD supervisors and administrative heads of the agencies; (b) Review of findings and recommendations by the Chief of Police; (c) Review of cases by the County Prosecutor’s Office & the CAP where discipline of more than five days is recommended or if criminal charges are going to be pursued. Officers will still have the right to challenge any disciplinary action that does not result in a criminal charge, in court; (d) The Police Department will make available statistics on how many punishments are reversed or reduced through the grievance procedure thereby making evaluation of the frequency and severity of punishment in the disciplinary process possible and transparent.
  7. Immediate supervisors have responsibility for discussing all disciplinary complaints with their subordinates and recommending additional monitoring, counseling, and/or training when appropriate.
  8. Creation and implementation of “use of force” and “search and seizure” reports: We propose and recommend that all officers develop and require all officers to complete written: (a) “use of force” reports to be filled out by any officer using type of force greater than escort and compliant cuffing; (b) “search and seizure” reports to be filled out when any officer (1) performs a warrantless search (excluding searches incident to arrests, frisks, and pat-downs (2) performs a body cavity or strip search, or (3) conducts any warrantless seizure of property (excluding towing vehicles) and that these reports as well as all disciplinary complaints be routinely monitored by the CAP to determine abuses and patterns of abuses.
  9. Police officers who provide information about other officers’ wrongdoing be protected from reprisals: Police officers who provide information about other officers wrongdoing should be given protection from reprisals and where necessary rewards for providing testimony concerning other officers wrongdoing by allowing transfers to other units and in some cases promotions. Investigators should be permitted to reward officers who risk personal harassment by disclosing other police officer’s misconduct. The promise of rewards is a necessary and effective tool in discovering and eliminating misconduct within any close association of people.
  10. CAP and IAD accept anonymous complaints: We further propose that anonymous complaints of police abuse of citizens be accepted, instead of the current ordinance prohibiting anonymous complaints except where criminal conduct is alleged.
  11. Records of disciplinary complaints against officers and their dispositions should be maintained during and for three years following an officer’s employment: We further propose that records of disciplinary complaints by citizens and dispositions of these complaints be maintained during the employment history of the officer and for three years following in the event he/she may seek to resume employment.
  12. Every police jurisdiction should produce printed annual reports and make monthly statistics sufficiently available to allow public monitoring and reasonable analysis of the disciplinary system and should monitor the field contact cards to determine if and where racial profiling is taking place: These reports must include by unit, district and countywide (a) the number and type of Complaint Registers, (b) who investigated the complaints (CAP, IAD, or the officer’s supervisor), including the disposition by category of the complaints (i.e. sustained, not-sustained, unfounded, and exonerated), the punishment recommended at each phase of the process, and the actual punishment meted out at the end of the arbitration process. [Current reports are particularly lacking in describing what punishments if any are actually meted out in what types of cases and in describing how frequently the CAP investigator’s findings and recommendations for punishment are reversed or reduced in the disciplinary process.
  13. Participatory Budgeting: Control of amount and spending of police funds through a community process.
  14. Enhance FOIA Process.

Advancement:

  1. Consideration of substance and patterns of civilian complaints of officer misconduct by the Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project (CAP) and IAD investigators and supervisors: We further propose and recommend that the substance and patterns of all civilian complaints of police misconduct against an officer be considered by police disciplinary investigators, supervisors, and internal auditors, and that disciplinary complaints of misconduct be included in the periodic evaluations of officers, considered in promotion decisions and that nothing in the Police Union contract shall be interpreted to interfere with this.
  2. Advancement is based on demonstrated expertise and commendations: This is in field use of Quality Policing training competencies and not carrying too many censures from the accountability section of the initiative.
  3. Adherence to Best Practices Connected to Advancement: People who are promoted demonstrate Quality Policing practices and those who don’t are not promoted.

Download OBS_Quality_Policing_Initiative_Update_Jan_2015.pdf

Read about the Initiative on OBS's website.

 

July 12, 2019

Catalyzing a Movement for Health and Housing

By Lindsay Ryder, Neighborhood Funders Group; Alexandra Desautels, The California Endowment; Michael Brown, Seattle Foundations; and Chris Kabel, The Kresge Foundation.

Lindsay Ryder, Alexandra Desautels, Michael Brown, and Chris Kabel

In June 2019, Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) gathered nearly 90 funders at Grantmakers in Health’s national conference in Seattle for a panel discussion on how philanthropy can invest in community housing solutions. Despite the large number of concurrent sessions, funders filled the room to dig deep into the urgent issue of equitable housing — and what role health funders can play in addressing this critical health determinant.

The goals of the session, which was organized by NFG’s Democratizing Development Program, were to mobilize health funders to invest in housing solutions and to get more funders to support community readiness and community-centered strategies. The session featured three leaders pushing philanthropy to take action andto expand equity via healthy, affordable housing:

  • Alexandra Desautels, Program Manager, The California Endowment and partner in the Fund for an Inclusive California

  • Michael Brown, Civic Architect, Civic Commons, Seattle Foundation and recipient of the GIH 2018 Terrance Keenan Leadership Award

  • Chris Kabel, Senior Fellow, The Kresge Foundation and National Steering Committee member of NFG’s Amplify Fund

Two people riding green bikes in front of a large colorful mural on the side of a building.

Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash

Why Health and Housing?

The session kicked off with several funders in the room sharing why they, as health funders, care about housing. One table of grantmakers representing Indiana, Los Angeles, and Oregon acknowledged both the critical role housing plays in the health of individuals and communities, and how the complexity of addressing housing requires health funders to partner outside of their foundations to get it right and make an impact. Another table of funders from Ohio and Texas identified the intersection of safe housing and healthy birth outcomes as the driving force behind their interest in housing. One needs to look no further than the 2019 Annual Message released by the President of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, titled “Our Homes Are Key to Our Health,” to see how housing impacts health equity. Ultimately, as Alex Desautels of The California Endowment put it, “If you can’t get housing right, there’s not much else you can layer on to get communities healthy.”

Philanthropic models for supporting Health and Housing

Acknowledging the complexities surrounding health funders and housing, the session presenters shared their foundations’ approach to this issue. 

Michael Brown of the Seattle Foundation discussed the concentration of poverty, lack of services, increased isolation, and limited cultural/community centers that result from market-driven housing displacement. Using an approach of people, place, policy, and power, Seattle Foundation partnered with local government on a data-driven approach to identify communities in the greatest need of support. Working in South Seattle, the Foundation engaged with community members and advocates to create an investment strategy designed to build capacity for coalition work and community power, positioning these communities to engage at a policy- and systems change-level for sustained impact.

Meanwhile, The California Endowment found itself grappling with how to move capital to communities when it launched its Building Healthy Communities initiative in 2009 in the middle of the foreclosure crisis. Fast forward to the current day, and the Endowment is now also tackling compounding issues of supporting communities facing gentrification and displacement. Taking a similar power-building approach as the Seattle Foundation, the Endowment has focused is focusing on building capacity of community-based organizations via a place-based approach, recognizing that the history of segregation in this country has led to limited opportunities for people of color to live in communities where they can be healthy and that “place-based initiatives are designed to address that legacy,” as described by the Endowment’s Alex Desautels. 

Chris Kabel shared The Kresge Foundation’s complementary approach: funder collaboratives. Kresge’s mission is to expand opportunity for people with low incomes in America’s cities, a mission to which housing is fundamental. Kresge has been able to lean into housing by partnering with funder collaboratives such as Funders for Housing Opportunity, SPARCC, and NFG’s own Amplify Fund. Not only does this approach enable the foundation to pool and leverage other funders’ grants, it also allows them to fund place-based work in a way that’s fair and equitable — a common challenge for national foundations seeking to invest at the community level. In addition to participating in funder collaboratives, the Kresge Health program has made two rounds of grants to place-based practitioners through a national call for proposals titled Advancing Health Equity through Housing

What about the other 90 funders in the room?

There is no single model for health funders seeking to invest in housing. Nor are the approaches taken by Seattle Foundation, The California Endowment, or The Kresge Foundation — all of which are relatively large, well-resourced funding institutions — necessarily realistic for other funders. So, what other options are there? The individual contexts and experiences of the nearly 90 funders in the room was tapped to generate some collective wisdom:

  1. Whether through funder collaboratives or less formalized partnerships, team up with other funders, including individual donors in your region.

  2. Embrace the public sector as a key player. While philanthropy has historically shied away from housing with the underlying belief that it was “government’s responsibility,” private philanthropy has a critical role to play, regardless of what extent local/state/federal government is stepping up. Invest in the capacity of communities to build coalitions and yield power in decision-making that affects how and where they are able to live — and therefore how healthy they are able to be.

  3. Explore impact investing as a complement to grantmaking. Some of the most well-developed mission related investing work has been built around housing — whether it be investing directly to organizations to develop affordable housing units or by participating in larger funds managed by CDFIs that leverage additional public and private resources for housing. .

  4. Help shift the narrative around equitable housing. The dominant narrative of housing as a commodity has sidelined efforts around other models of affordable, safe, healthy housing that is not based on individual ownership. Similarly, the pejorative narrative around “trailer parks” has restricted an otherwise highly viable effort to utilize manufactured homes to get people into safe and healthy housing.

  5. Finally, don’t await crisis before acting! Funders should face the housing crisis head on as early as possible, bringing community representation to the table with public sector as well as private (market-based developers) at the earliest stage as possible to lay the groundwork for shared power and equitable solutions.

The role of Neighborhood Funders Group, and what next?

The work of NFG’s Democratizing Development Program is at the core of NFG’s nearly 40-year history of organizing philanthropy to support equitable, community-based change. Recognizing the history of segregation in this country, and centering communities of color and low-income communities, NFG works with funders at a national scale to develop and actualize effective funding strategies. As was acknowledged at several points throughout the session, no one foundation can do this alone. By helping funders come together to develop relationships, identify successful models, and actually move resources — NFG is moving philanthropy’s needle in finding solutions to equitable housing and community development. For example, over the past couple of years, NFG’s Democratizing Development Program was instrumental in the initial planning, staffing, and convening of funders in the development of the Amplify Fund and the Fund for Inclusive California

This 60-minute session at the GIH conference was only the tip of the iceberg for funders to further share, learn, and strategize with their peers on how to be effective grantmakers working on the intersections of health and housing. Building on this session discussion and other previous offerings, the Democratizing Development Program will continue to organize, partner, and host programming, and work towards convening funders to further the conversation around building a movement for health and housing. If you are interested in how your foundation can get involved, contact DDP’s Senior Program Manager, Nile Malloy, at nile@nfg.org

June 12, 2019

NFG Announces Transition of President Dennis Quirin

For Immediate Release
June 12, 2019

OAKLAND, CA — On July 19, Dennis Quirin will step down as President of Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) to accept a new position as Executive Director of the Raikes Foundation in September. NFG’s Vice President of Programs, Adriana Rocha, and Vice President of Operations, Sarita Ahuja, will serve as Interim Co-Directors to shepherd the organization through the executive transition. A search for NFG’s next President will begin in late 2019.

“The courageous and bold leadership that Dennis exhibits is exactly what this moment requires. Today, NFG stands strong and in solidarity with the movements we are all in service of advancing. It has been an honor to work with someone who aligns their values with their actions as consistently as Dennis does. On behalf of the board, I am excited to welcome the next leader who will carry on NFG’s mission supporting grassroots power building so that communities of color and low-income communities thrive,” said Alison Corwin, Chair of the NFG board.

In his six-year tenure as President, Dennis has overseen tremendous expansion in NFG’s membership, operations, and programming. NFG's institutional membership has more than doubled, with now over 115 foundations around the country participating as members in programs focused on shifting power and money in philanthropy towards justice. NFG’s team has also grown to 15 staff members located in six states across the US. Dennis has launched the Amplify Fund, a multimillion-dollar collaborative fund for equitable development, and Philanthropy Forward, a foundation CEO fellowship. He has also fostered new directions in programming addressing issues such as gentrification and displacement, racial justice and police accountability, just transition to a new economy, rural organizing, and the changing landscape of workers’ rights.

“It has been a great privilege to lead this organization as it activates philanthropy to support social justice and power building,” said Dennis. “Nearing its 40th year, NFG is now in the strongest position it has ever been, and will no doubt continue to grow and build upon what we have accomplished together during my time here. I am excited to take what I’ve learned and apply these lessons in my new role at the Raikes Foundation.” 

“Dennis’s visionary leadership over the past six years has strengthened NFG as a community where funders gain relationships and tools to move more resources to organizing and powerbuilding,” said Sarita. “We are grateful to Dennis for building NFG into the thriving organization it is today,” added Adriana, “and look forward to welcoming a new leader in 2020.”

NFG’s executive search will be announced later in 2019 and will be open nationally to candidates. More immediate questions about the search can be sent to Shannon Lin, Communications Manager, at shannon@nfg.org

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Read more: "A New Chapter — for Me and for NFG"

 

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