The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Black Lives Matter organizers ask for changes


Dear Editor:

On behalf of Black Lives Matter Walla Walla, we, the organizers, demand that the Walla Walla Police Department be held to the highest standards as they work to protect our community.

We support Black Lives Matter. We take a firm stance against police use of brutality and force, as well as expect transparency and communication from the WWPD. Our demands are separated into two categories; Use of Force, and Representation and Accountability. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a starting point for authentic, tangible change, and transformational reform within the WWPD.

Use of force:

• Body cams must be adopted and required while interacting with the public while on duty. Current WWPD budget should be redirected to fund and maintain body cams.

• Ban shooting at moving vehicles.

• Adopt the practice of warning before shooting.

• Discontinue spending on paramilitary equipment.

• Chokeholds and strangleholds must be banned, including LVNR.

• Comprehensive reporting must be required, including documentation of any threat or use of force or firearm.

Representation and accountability:

• WWPD and the City Manager must not employ any person in any capacity that promotes or bears relation to hate speech of any kind (including but not limited to tattoos, dress, language, social media presence). Any current officer or WWPD employee holding association with hate speech should be terminated, effective immediately.

• If any member of the police department has an active restraining order against them, they must be suspended without pay.

• Race and gender statistics of arrests and interactions with civilians must be available in the Statistical Annual Report.

• Demographic information (race/gender) of members of the police force must be released to the community to ensure transparency and authenticity.

• Independent review boards must be adopted to investigate complaints placed against officers and employees of WWPD. Results of investigations become public knowledge for accountability.

• WWPD must contract with community agencies for differential call response, as it relates to mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and welfare checks.

• Information about training agendas, yearly additional courses, and hours officers spend in bias/discrimination training must be publicly available.

• Release police protocol (in multiple languages) for contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement to encourage transparency with the undocumented members of our community.

• Compensation must be provided for the Chief’s Advisory Board. Goals and events should be available to the public.

We stand in solidarity with victims of police violence and brutality, including, but not limited to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Andres Guardado, Sandra Bland, and the countless others who have been senselessly murdered at the hands of police.

We ask the Walla Walla Police Department, City Manager, and City Council to review and adopt each item listed above. Additionally, we request that members of the public write letters to the WWPD, the City Manager and the City Council in support of these demands. We encourage community collaboration with local activists working towards similar reform goals.


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