(From press release) Many Davis community members have been re-thinking public safety after episodes of police brutality and a long-time lack of adequate services for mental health issues, drug use, and houselessness. These issues have exacerbated racial disparities, which are particularly pronounced in Davis.
This is why Davis leaders have been sending hundreds of emails and public comments to the Davis City Council, urging council members to create a Department of Public Safety independent from the Police Department. Organizers argue that such a department could employ social workers, civil servants and mental healthcare professionals to take on tasks like welfare checks, code enforcement, traffic enforcement, noise complaints, and more.
This Saturday, May 15th, 1pm-3pm at Davis Central Park, Solidarity Space (4th and C), the Davis for Real Public Safety Coalition will be hosting a bike caravan followed shortly by a teach-in at Davis Central Park. This event will include a panel discussion to examine why Davis needs an independent public safety department and what community members can do to bring about a more just City of Davis.
Members of the panel will include representatives from:
● Yolo Democratic Socialists of America
● Yolo People Power
● UAW 2865
● Solidarity Space Davis
Other organizations involved:
● Davis Night Market
● Davis Bike Collective
“Last summer we saw the public rise up against a fundamentally racist and unjust system. This summer, we will continue that work by demanding a department whose foundations are based on the actual needs of the community.” - Kazia Johnston-Hart, Davis resident, property manager, and member of Yolo DSA
"We owe it to the most vulnerable in our community - people of color, the unhoused, and those with disability or mental health issues - to re-envision a system built around care and providing for their basic needs rather than around the fear and trauma associated with policing." - Nusrat Molla, Davis resident and member of UAW 2865
“The police have been City Council's hammer and all these problems - from mental welfare checks to code enforcement - look like nails to them. City Council needs to prioritize the well-being of our community and create a department of public safety." - Amie Ball, Yolo County resident and member of Yolo DSA
About the Davis for Real Public Safety Coalition: Davis for Real Public Safety is a coalition between several local organizations, including Yolo People Power, Yolo Democratic Socialists of America, and the union for Academic Student Employees UAW 2865 Davis Unit. The list of organizations involved recently grew to 31 in an open letter to Davis City Council. The coalition’s aim is to establish real public safety in the form of an independent Department of Public Safety in Davis.