A Call For Civilian Oversight of Livonia Law Enforcement
A Call For Civilian Oversight of Livonia Law Enforcement
Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan recently announced the formation of an “Office of Professional Standards” as a step in addressing the numerous concerns and complaints about racial profiling, race-based traffic stops, and unfair policing practices in our city.
Unfortunately, this “office” is staffed by one person - an unnamed sergeant currently employed by the department. The one-person office reports directly to the Chief of Police. Essentially, despite complaints from residents that some complaints never “see the light of day” and other complaints being labeled as “unfounded” and not being included in the “transparency” data released - Mayor Brosnan’s plan is to continue to allow the police to receive complaints about themselves, investigate themselves, and clear themselves of any wrongdoing.
This is not acceptable.
It's time for civilian oversight now. Enable a commission to review all complaints publicly, to make recommendations, and oversee the implementation of proper tracking within the LPD.
Livonia Citizens Caring About Black Lives demands that the City Council of Livonia exercise their powers under Chapter IV Section 21 of the city charter and establish a Civilian Oversight Committee of the Livonia Police Department.
The Civilian Oversight Committee must have, at minimum, the following powers:
- Receive, investigate, and resolve all civilian complaints against LPD
- Establish multiple ways, both in-person and online, to submit, view, and discuss complaints against LPD
- Make disciplinary recommendations to the Police Chief
- Require that for all stops by a police officer that do not end with an arrest, the officer must: provide the civilian with their name, badge number, reason for the stop, and a card with instructions for filing a complaint to the Civilian Oversight Committee
- Create policy recommendations for the police department based on community input and expertise
- Share policy proposals and changes in publicly accessible formats
- Issue public quarterly reports analyzing complaints, demographics of complainants, status and findings of investigations, and actions taken as a result
In addition, the Civilian Oversight Commission must operate according to the following guidelines:
- Funded with no less than 5% of the total LPD budget
- Have at least one investigator for every 70 police officers or four investigators at all times, whichever is greater
- The director of the Civilian Oversight Commission shall be selected from candidates offered by local community organizations and serve for a term of two years
Please sign this petition for Livonia public safety.
Transparency and accountability are the only paths to building and maintaining trust between law enforcement and the community.
Livonia has an unfortunate history as one of our country’s largest “Sundown Towns”; all white municipalities or neighborhoods that segregated and excluded non-whites through a combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation, and racially-biased policing, as shown in the traffic stop data released by the Livonia Police Department. Chief Caid has been on the force since 1979, has stated that he is aware of the perception of racism in Livonia, and has stated that he's been working hard to change this perception.
However, as of Monday, LPD has not shared any plans for progress or for taking the first basic step to address this perception - collecting the appropriate data.
It’s time to go beyond acknowledging the racism and inequality that exists in our own community; it’s time to dismantle it with intention and ambition. Our community urgently needs a way to ensure police officers are held accountable for their policing.
On May 30, three Livonia residents started a Facebook Group that sparked a powerful movement for anti-racism and equality in our community. After a candid meeting with our Mayor and Police Chief, more than 2,000 people participated in a peaceful march on June 7. This march has been the catalyst for never-before seen conversations and actions in our city.
Since June 8, with “Public Safety for All” as one of our three priorities, members of our group immediately began the next steps toward affecting change. These steps included attending City Council meetings to share personal stories; letters, emails, and phone calls to elected officials; a campaign to bring awareness to the multitude of complaints about the practice of racial profiling and race-based traffic stops by Livonia Police Department.
Mayor Maureen Brosnan has led the city in steps toward change as well. Livonia hosted the first in a series of “listening tours” hosted by Western Wayne County Partnerships for Progress. Both the Mayor and Police Chief have acknowledged that Livonia’s reputation for lack of inclusion needs to be addressed and a Human Relations Commission has been tasked with certain Diversity & Inclusion efforts. A transparency tab with some data has also been added to the police website. The data released exposes gross disparities in the number of discretionary traffic tickets, citations, and arrests for Black people in Livonia, despite the fact that Black people account for approximately 4.4% of the city’s population.
Surrounding communities have already begun making sweeping changes to combat systemic racism; Livonia must not be known as the only city holding onto the vestiges of a racist past.
Let us ensure Livonia makes headlines, not for our history as a “sundown town”, but for ambitious plans that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Through brave and bold action, Livonia could become a beacon of racial progress; an example of a city that, despite its history, dedicated itself to meaningful change and created a community that is equitable for all.
Be a part of the Livonia Citizens Caring About Black Lives movement! Join our Facebook Group: �� LIVONIA Citizens Caring About Black Lives �� and Follow our Facebook Page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/LivoniaCitizensCaringAboutBlackLives/
Read about the Campaign Zero initiative - https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision