Collaborating with Nevada lawmakers to divest from LVMPD
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The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is immensely overfunded. Their budget of over $655 million is astronomical for a city of our size. Their massive budget contributes to police being militarized against the communities that they are meant to protect. Portland's police department serves a population only slightly larger than ours but has a budget of about 1/3 that of LVMPD. Over-policed neighborhoods are affected disproportionately by budget cuts to community programs. Our tax dollars should be used for community enrichment, rather than militarizing against citizens. For years, we have continued to increase the department's funding for technology to keep police accountable, as well as reform programs. Still, our police department remains one of the most opaque in the nation, with per capita police killings at odds with cities like LA and Chicago. Metro continues to militarize against citizens who are denied access to due process. To compare our city's police violence with others: Mapping Police Violence
At a time where we see massive budget cuts to public programs, including education, we cannot afford to sustain astronomical funding to the police.
We demand that:
1. Las Vegas City Council passes a significantly pared-down police budget for the fiscal year 2021. We request that the city decrease its contribution to LVMPD by $100 million to make up for program cuts in other areas. Our goal with this is to reduce the city's $173 million contribution to LVMPD to substantially less.
2. Governor Sisolak and Mayor Goodman veto the budget if the council passes a 2021 budget with more than $73 million for LVMPD. We request that Sisolak and Goodman pressure city council to decrease LVMPD funding further if they do not meet this demand.
3. Clark County decreases its contribution to LVMPD by $100 million as well. The county provides $261 million to the LVMPD. The county is facing deep budget cuts for FY 2021, including a $37.8 million budget cut to our schools. School budget cuts come at a time where students are already suffering, and where our local education has received a D+ national rating. Investing in education helps to lower future rates of incarceration. We also request that Sisolak veto the county's budget if their budget proposal does not meet our demands.
4. Our local government invests police divestment dollars in public programs to help impacted communities recover from the long-term impacts of over-policing. Impacted communities need resources to rebuild neighborhoods that have been devastated by police militarization.
5. Metro institutes a one-strike policy that mandates immediate removal or third-party investigation of any police officer after one (1) sustained excessive force or use-of-force complaint. The one-strike policy should apply retroactively for 30 years. Officers under investigation for misconduct should be evaluated by a newly-appointed, community-organizer vetted civilian review committee to investigate complaints and excessive use of force allegations. At best, officers are often provided with paid administrative leave during department investigations. This must be banned. The officers using an inappropriate amount of force must be held accountable in order to maintain the trust and safety of community members. Metro should immediately ban: any restraints that include pressure on the neck or chest, use of the restraint chair, and prioritizing the safety of those experiencing mental health crises before an officer implements a restraint. A portion of the budget should be dedicated to retraining all officers on emergency medical services, racial and cultural sensitivity, and de-escalation (especially in mental health crises), and alternatives to detention and restraint.
6. Metro begin demilitarization, which includes banning the transfer of the following military equipment from the U.S. Department of Defense 1033 program to local law enforcement agencies: military-grade firearms, ammunition, silencers, grenades, and explosives; armored or weaponized drones; aircrafts with no commercial purpose; and long-range acoustic devices. For any other supplies, Metro should be required to submit itemized requests with supporting justification. Any military-grade equipment on the prohibited items list should be returned to the suppliers, otherwise, be seized by the state. **Similar legislation has been previously proposed with bipartisan support in 2015 and 2017 by Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Brian Schatz (D-HI), with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) co-sponsoring in 2017.
7. Metro increase their transparency to the public in general, especially regarding police-involved homicides and instances of misconduct. To take the first step towards police transparency, the Nevada legislature must repeal the Nevada statutes protecting the rights of peace officers, NRS 289.020-120. These provisions within NRS protect police from punitive consequences, as well as block public access to information regarding Metro officers' misconduct. Specifically, police should be required to release all bodycam footage of participating officers (unedited and unredacted) to the public within one (1) week of an incident of officer misconduct or homicide, release all bodycam footage (unedited, unredacted) of prior incidents of misconduct or homicide, and notify victim's family members within 72 hours of an incident of police-involved homicide. Metro should also be required to make their radio communications public. Additionally, reports of officer misconduct should be made publicly accessible within 24 hours of occurrence, in tandem with third-party investigation or termination.
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