We have until June 29 when the City Council locks in the 2022 budget with increases to police and cuts to social services.
TAKE ACTION THIS WEEK
>>SHOW UP! Wednesday, June 23 from 12-1pm
FROM THE STEPS OF CITY HALL TO THE STREETS OF BERKELEY!
WHAT: Berkeley Copwatch and Network for Care Not Cops will lead a rally to demand a city budget that prioritizes a humane, non-police response to mental health crises.
WHEN: Wednesday, 6/23/21 from noon - 1 p.m.
WHERE: Gather at 12pm for a noise demonstration at City Hall, 2180 Milvia Street. Make them hear our demands for a non-police response to mental health crises!
>> SPEAK UP! Tuesday, June 22 at 10am
Make public comment at the City Council Budget & Finance Committee meeting. They will be discussing the 2022 Budget budget. Hold their feet to the fire! Tell them what you want in a people’s budget!!
Find future City Council meeting agendas and link in the City's index: bit.ly/BCCa21
UPDATE: They’ve INCREASED
the increase to police $$
The City Manager’s revised budget allocates $8M to the Specialized Care Unit. This would finally make possible the non-police mental health crisis response team that Berkeley deeply needs. However, this $$ is planned to come out of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds which means it isn’t being redirected out of BPD’s bloated budget and is impermanent. THERE’s MORE: $1M of this funding that’s meant to be earmarked for mental health would go toward a “Problem Oriented Policing Team” and two non-sworn police data analysts.
We continue to demand a mental health response INDEPENDENT FROM POLICE funded with MONEY TAKEN FROM THE POLICE BUDGET. Instead the City is trying to expand police scope & funding!
Why CARE NOT COPS?
Kayla Moore was killed by the Berkeley Police in her own home during a "wellness check" in 2013 when she was experiencing a mental health crisis. The abuse and murder of people living with mental health disabilities at the hands of the police is tragic and commonplace. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, individuals with untreated severe mental illness are involved in at least 1 in 4 and as many as half of all fatal police shootings. We must end the criminalization and killing of people with mental health disabilities at the hands of the police.
Who can we call for help? Decades of austerity and failed policy has left us with police as first responders to mental health crisis, and jails and prisons as the largest "providers" of mental health services. Individuals cannot access long-term care, and when they need acute assistance, their need is met by police, who cause further traumatization.
In Berkeley, 35% or more of police calls for service are for people experiencing a mental health crisis, and even some officers claim that this is a drain on resources. The City of Berkeley does operate a mobile crisis unit, but the unit is so underfunded that it does not operate Tuesdays or Sundays, nor after 10 pm. The mobile crisis unit is dispatched with the police, and the police control the scene. Moreover, the mobile crisis unit lacks the resources to arrive in a timely manner—or even to arrive at all. Many times police arrive at the scene, and mobile crisis shows up hours later after the individual is long gone.
We need to end the criminalization of mental illness. When police arrive to a mental health crisis, they bring fear, they bring force, and they are more likely to refer an individual to the criminal justice system than to the health services that they desperately need. Criminalizing mental health disability disrupts the road to recovery, and makes it more difficult to access employment and housing. It is expensive, ineffective, and inhumane.
What can we do about this? In July 2020, the Berkeley City Council voted to create a “Specialized Care Unit” (SCU) as an alternative to police in cases of mental health emergencies and non-criminal incidents. The new SCU is an opportunity for a mental health crisis response that does not involve the police, but we have to make sure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the mobile crisis unit. Read our demands.
We can make the SCU a viable alternative to the police, but we have to ACT NOW to intervene in the budget process.
Join us Every Wednesday at Noon at City Hall
Bring your pots & pans, let's make noise to demand a community budget!
Bring pots, pans & other noisemakers!
Steps of City Hall
(2180 Mivlia St. Berkeley)
The proposed FY 2022 Budget includes increases to the police department. This budget will be approved by the City Council on June 29 unless we do something about it.
WE ARE LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY FROM THE COUNCIL VOTE
It's time to really put the pressure on!
Speak up during public comment at the City Council meetings!
See calendar below and find Agendas & Zoom links at https://bit.ly/BCCa21
ALSO: Watch out for Budget & Policy committee meetings coming up — they consist of often just three council members making impactful decisions about the city budget. The next two will be key to budget decisions: Tues. June 22 at 10am and Thurs. June 24 at 10am.
Check back here for updated info, agendas, and Zoom links.
For context, watch Berkeley Copwatch's community forum on
Mental Health & Policing in Berkeley
The Network for CARE NOT COPS:
Berkeley Community Safety Coalition
Berkeley Tenants’ Union
Cops Off Campus
Friends of Adeline
Latinos Unidos de Berkeley
South Berkeley Mutual Aid Project
The Suitcase Clinic
Where Do We Go? Berkeley
Berkeley Federation of Teachers Officer's Council
Our Demands for the
Specialized Care Unit (SCU)