End Berkeley's Participation in Urban Shield Now - Stop the Militarization of Our Police.
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We urgently call on the Mayor and City Council to discontinue all participation by the Berkeley Police Department in Urban Shield training and re-direct funding and attention to public safety programs to better prepare our city in the face of disasters.
Urban Shield is presented as a training program for emergency preparedness, but it is a highly militarized training geared to respond to unlikely terrorism scenarios, active shooters, and to sell military equipment. Several City Council members observed the 2017 Urban Shield training and reported there was minimal training for natural disasters like earthquakes or fires.
We object to Urban Shield’s highly militarized training of the Berkeley Police and Fire Departments because:
- A 2014 ACLU report analyzed the militarization of the police and found that the deployment of SWAT teams disproportionately impacted people of color.
- The militarized tools made available through Urban Shield are going to a police department that has a demonstrated pattern of racial bias and profiling.
- The risks of terrorist-related attacks that Urban Shield trains for are low. Emergency personnel can be prepared for these incidents without becoming highly militarized.
- Washington Post research shows that when police are trained using militarized equipment they are more likely to become involved in the violent use of force. (June 30, 2017)
- As a sanctuary city, we are opposed to a program that promotes increased militarization that is often used against immigrant communities.
- The Urban Shield training focus on terrorism undermines the development of robust, regionally coordinated, emergency preparedness training for natural disasters.
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