Shay Castle Profile picture
Sep 7 95 tweets 14 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I forgot to tell you that I'm at City Council tonight. I'll be tweeting the vote and public hearing for the new BPD plan, Reimagining Policing.
I'm also here for some housing stuff, but I'll just be taking notes on that for an upcoming story. Big doings!
OK getting started. Council has looked at Reimagining Policing once before, and they sent it back for more work.

So much good info in this story from back then. Please give it a read:…
*This* draft is completely restructured from the first, and it does include feedback from a handful of civil rights groups and/or attorneys.
BPD asked those groups/ppl 4 qs:
- How does this compare to other strategic policing plans across the country?
- Ideas to improve the plan?
- Anything that concerns you from a civil rights perspective?
- Strengths of the plan?
Here's the notes I took from the feedback that was received:
-Multiple remarks on civil disturbance training and the possibility for conflict with civil rights of protesters
Similar concerns about use of drones and robots, but folks were more resigned to their use and acceptance
Center for Policing Equity: “A Holistic framework doesn't guarantee that community members, specifically those of color, will be treated equally and their rights will be respected and protected.”
Alphonse Gerhardstein, attorney in Cincy: “Not sure convincing link made between the strategies you are recommending and the need for more money.”

OIR Group (consults on police oversight) and Jeff Schlanger (an "institutional change" expert): No civil rights concerns
Metro Denver Homeless Initiative: only good feedback; incorporates best practices and such (did not answer questions)
Immigrant Legal Center of Boulder County:
- Plan should admit social determinants of crime (also noted by Center for Policing Equity) and the role police play in upholding unequal systems
Vera Institute of Justice probably had the most feedback; they did a lot of fact-checking:

- Presence in hot spots also reduces crime, not necessarily police presence

- Trainings not always effective; Boulder should use ones that are
“There is strong evidence that even relatively innocuous proactive contacts can cause collateral harm to communities. Officer-initiated contacts, especially of pedestrians, often show such negative impacts. ...
...Research suggests that the crime suppression impact of broad patterns of pedestrian contact is weak and likely outweighed by harm to community health."
Vera also noted the incomplete data on reductions in use of force; incidents have gone down, but has the *rate* of force in incidents? (If incidents declined, naturally force would, too, without actual reduction in the rate)
Vera had “No position” on stratified policing (something we'll talk about later), but “sounds a note of caution on the social costs of policing often imposed by punitive police interventions. … Too often, these harms go unmeasured."
A few folks also asked about data on racial disparities in traffic stops and use of force. BPD has, on numerous occasions, been found to ticket, arrest and use force on POC disproportionately.
A new analysis is planned; it will be done later this year, and shared with the public early next year, according to the policing plan. After that, it will be redone and republished "biannually" — (2X a year or once every 2 years? I'm not sure!)
BPD also plans to publish a report on its interactions with unhoused people in 2024 or 2025... they got a grant to look at that in 2021.
Anyway, back to the civil rights group feedback: You can find that here. It was linked to in the report.…
And some more on the reduction in force, referenced earlier. Herold reformed use of force and firearm policies pretty soon after arriving.



More on reductions:………
This is a lot of context and background, and not a lot about the plan itself. Department master plans (which this is... the city is just moving away from that terminology) are always really difficult to report on, bc they're vision documents.
Reimagining Policing is "one of the most progressive and innovative plans I've seen" in 3 decades of work, says Robin Engel, of the National Policing Institute, which also reviewed the plan and produced a report.
Report on the plan, to be clear.
Lots of planning and reporting and feedback — another reason it's difficult to write about these things.
So what is BPD's vision? Problem-oriented policing, an approach that focuses more on proactive patrols and preventative measures.

Per the plan: “In problem-solving policing, officers become partners with the communities that are impacted by harmful situations. ...
... They work as a team to identify and analyze the problem (example: frequent crime in a certain geographic area), discuss possible solutions, implement those solutions and assess the results. ...
... Problem solving partnerships can involve a variety of people that have experience or knowledge of the problem – community members or community groups, businesses, other government departments or agencies, etc.”
What does this look like in IRL? An example is the downtown Circle K. There's a lot of crime happening there, so the officers went in, did some analysis and made some recommended changes.
Those changes included (according to the plan):
- Pay raises to increase staffing
- Removed outdoor displays that blocked line of sight from the check out counter to the parking
- Installed additional lighting in poorly lit outdoor spaces
- Installed bathroom lock, more cameras
And calls to the cops went down
"Idk of any other plan across the country that's as visionary as this plan," Engel says.
Another part of this plan is freeing up more officer time to do things like this, rather than responding to calls. Right now, officers spend 74% of their time on "reactive activities," according to BHP.

The goal is 60% of officer time for answering calls.
This is a "radical, radical change" from the conventional model, Chief Herold says, where cops are called, they show up, they maybe make an arrest and that's it. The conditions that led to crime aren't changed.
To achieve the 60% goal, BPD is asking for 8-14 additional officers for swing and graveyard shifts. That would bring BPD to 205 officers total.

Cost was not discussed in this draft of the plan (or the council memo). Last time, they said it would be $4.4M
Not sure if these costs are (still) correct, but they were in the last plan. Which (again) you really should read about…
New costs of plan (again, per last time — these numbers are not discussed anywhere in this plan)
Total: $5,661,018
– Ongoing: $3,886,696
– One-time: $1,774,322
Engel and Herold go back a ways; they're both from the University of Cincinnati, where Herold was the police chief. (Then the city of Cincy's police chief). And Engel nominated her for recognition by the Evidenced-based Policing Hall of Fame.…
Here's the full NPI report:…
And a report to Reimagining Policing, which I imagine you might also like to see:
Specific actions/strategies (What they're actually going to do) begin on page 36.
NRV touching on costs: "Similar to previous master plans, this one calls for more resources, which is similar to what we see from other master plans."
True... departments always ask for the moon. Very, very rarely do departments get it. I think open space has come the closest.
NRV: We are at 174 officers currently, and approved to go up to 191 (that's what's budgeted for).

BPD asking to go to 205, but that won't happen next year — remember, the budget is already out. And they're focusing on hiring up to that 191 level.…
NRV saying it a little bit fancier than this, but essentially saying: This new strategy might eventually lead to the need for fewer cops, less $$$, but it might also not.
The plan does acknowledge that the cops aren't the right ones to address all public safety problems and need to work with other city dept and orgs, but some of the civil rights groups said the plan was kinda thin on *how* they actually plan to do that.
"We have not included this in the 2024 budget yet," NRV says. Funding requests could come mid-year, or in the 2025 budget.
"I fully embrace and support this plan, bc it really brings forward (acknowledges) that the Latinx community has suffered for ages," says Marina LaGrave, 1 of the 2 community members who sat on the process subcommittee for 2 years.
We're now watching an *inspiring* video about the plan. I didn't have a chance to tweet a lot of what Chief Herold said earlier, but a lot of the presentation has been very... emotional? I guess I'd say.
Just realized I never shared the staff presentation for this:…
A city staffer is, I think, reading comments from the other community member who participated in this: Mallory Kates. BPD is "poorly supported" by the majority of city council, the statement reads, and the plan was unnecessarily delayed to get feedback from civil rights folks.
A few community members working with the police dept would have been sufficient, the statement said.
Kates was a part of BPD's Community Dialogue and Engagement Panel, which Herold in 2020 urged to tell city council to support the police in removing encampments:…
I didn't cover this (and don't remember it) but apparently there was some kerfuffle over LaGrave and Kates' appointment:…
OK, back to the discussion:

NRV: How many of the groups you reached out to for engagement actually engaged? (as listed in the plan)

Engagement manager Sarah Huntley: I'd say we got some engagement from almost everybody, but their level of engagement varied.
Speer is asking this, I think, because one of the groups listed as a "stakeholder" who engaged — SAFE Boulder — earlier today tweeted that they were not, in fact, involved.
Speer asking another question that is really a point: Council has mentioned in the past how we never fund master plans at the full "vision" levels, and that we're moving away from that. Where are we on that?
NRV: We're taking that to the Financial Strategy Committee. That's work you'll see in 2024.
Speer with another point: The plan notes at its end that HHS is funded much higher than other cities, and has a budget similar to the police. BPD is the highest-staffed dept by far (282 FTE) while HHS has 70. What's the difference in staffing and spending?
Staff's answer is basically: HHS spends a lot of community on projects and into the community. That's a lot of the budget.

Also, a LOT of HHS budget is from the $$ it gets from impact and development fees and commercial linkage.... that goes to affordable housing.
Speer to Herold: Is there anything you would have changed about this process or where we ended up?
Herold: I wish it hadn't taken so long. I'm so passionate about this plan. "This is the best shot that we know of right now ... to ensure that we do not see another George Floyd."
Joseph: BPD has a plan of 30% female officers by 2030. How many do we have right now?
Ron Gossage, deputy chief: Of 174 officers, we have 140 males and 34 females, 19.5%, above the national average. 11 black officers, 22 Hispanic officers, 6 Asian officers, 1 multi-racial officer
Joseph: What I didn't hear as much (in the presentation) about mental health. Is that also reflected in the budgetary funding?
I didn't catch the name of the officer answering: We do have funding in our current budget and 2024 budget to deal with wellness for officers. We will continue to ask for that so we can ensure officers are well and providing the best services.
We're moving into the public hearing. 35 speakers, so it will take a bit. Not sure how much I'll tweet; might wanna follow Amber at the Camera for that.
First few folks are Spanish-speakers, some using translators, all praising and supporting the plan.
Just thought I'd tweet that, bc we don't often get Spanish-speaking participation.
The last speaker reminded me of something I forgot: the NAACP pulled out of the engagement process in this plan. Idk why.... I'll let you know if I find out (or remember; I might have read something somewhere).
All speakers so far in favor of the plan, including full funding and staffing for it.
Also lots of mentions of homelessness, as any discussion about crime/policing has today in Boulder. And lots of overtly political comments, mostly berating the Progressive members of council for not supporting police.
On to the virtual speakers and still everyone has been in favor of the plan. Also, side note, but you'd think fans of law and order would respect the rules about time limits and not reacting audibly to speakers....
Public hearing over. No opponents; one speaker did express hope that part of the plan — about holistic governance and socioeconomic drivers of crime — be kept in mind by council.

Almost certainly this will be approved. I've never seen them *not* approve a dept plan.
They have declined to *update* one before (Transportation, bc they hadn't met the goals of the last one yet) but never not approved one. The only reason this is even news is bc it's policing.
Herold on repeat offenders: The state decriminalized some drug use, but they didn't invest in treatment options at the same time. And the jail is still full as the courts are still working through a pandemic-era backlog.
That was in response to a council q, and the recent story of a person arrested on drug charges after having been arrested and released for a stabbing.
Winer: To all small biz (many owners spoke here tonight) I feel so bad, and I'm going to do everything I can to be part of a solution.
Benjamin: "Our chief chose to lean into transformational change" and recognize the limitations of traditional policing. "I fully support this plan; it's emblematic of the community it intends to serve."
Now is the time for speeches by council, if you can't tell.
Wallach: "I look forward to that adjustment (to the 2024 budget)" to fully fund and staff the plan and give the police the support they deserve.
Friend: We got pushback to delaying implementation of this plan, but I was mentored by a past council member to do things in a way that stick. We have not heard any opposition to this plan; this will stick.
Folkerts: "I deeply appreciate many aspects of this plan, particularly the portions that describe holistic governance" and the many contributors to crime. "I especially appreciated the attention given to youth voices."
Folkerts: Problem-oriented policing could help to rebuild trust with police. Or, if implemented poorly, could have the opposite effect. We need to continue to check in and make sure things are working as intended.
Speer: This was supposed to be a strategic update, but because of the moment, it became something more. I want to give staff kudos for meeting the moment, or trying to. We added a lot to the work.
I appreciate everyone's willingness to stay at the table and hear feedback in such a charged atmosphere, Speer says.
"What I feel like is missing from this plan is what I talked about last summer," is acknowledgement of systemic racism and the harm and trauma that has been caused, she says. I know we're doing some training around that, and I wish I'd seen more of it in the plan.
Crowd REALLY not happy with what she's saying. "Is she serious?" one person said out loud. An outbreak of muttering and sighs throughout.
Speer actually stopped and addressed the crowd and said, "I'd like the opportunity to talk. Who I want to talk to is the police department."
"I would have liked to see an accounting of the harm traditional policing has caused" in our community, and specifics for how we're going to track success and outcomes over time, Speer says.
"Whether we're ppl who feel safe with police, or ppl who don't feel safe with police, we all want this plan to succeed," she follows.
Concludes, rather.
Joseph, participating remotely. "It is hard for me to hear earlier that legislation we passed have not been helpful to Chief Maris. It is often v difficult to pass bills without the support" of police associations. Usually there's a lot of stake holding.
Joseph: "Governing is not easy, and we don't always get it right, but identifying our values and using it as a roadmap to action is critical, and I heard that tonight."
Supports the plan.
Brockett: The public engagement on this is just extraordinary. "I know the work here is not easy."
You can tell who is running for re-election; they're giving the longest speeches.

Well, except for Winer. I think she said like 3 sentences.
Vote to approve is unanimous. Applause from the crowd.
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More from @shayshinecastle

Aug 29
Howdy, ya'll. I was here for the Raucous Caucus, the first candidate forum of the season, and now I'm here for the Chamber forum. I'll be live-tweeting what I can.
Speer answers in Spanish.
She then translates: Latino companies know best what the Latino community needs. They're already addressing this issue; supporting their work can help.
Read 100 tweets
Aug 18
OK, occupancy.

Council voting tonight to raise the limit on how many unrelated adults can live together from 3-4 (depending on where in the city) to 5 citywide.
I've got literal years of notes, but you could just review this stellar story from 2021. It talks about how many ppl actually live together, how occupancy influences affordability, concerns with higher occupancy, and everything I will now tweet.…
This ballot measure failed, which is one of the chief complaints of opponents to increasing occupancy: Why is council doing this when the community said no?

I wrote a story about that, too:…
Read 93 tweets
Aug 17
Howdy, Boulder, I'm at city council watching two things:
- Final ballot language for the sales tax extension / arts funding
- Vote on raising occupancy limits to 5

The outcomes on both are almost assured based on previous votes, but I'm here nonetheless.
Will almost certainly tweet something, if not the entire thing. Honestly do not have the stomach to sit through yet another public hearing on occupancy, when we already know what everyone will say.
We heard some heartbreaking testimony from labor unions, workers and others about the need to raise the minimum wage ASAP.

Also from human services agencies about their concern over dedicating general fund revenue to the arts (aforementioned ballot measure)
Read 25 tweets
Jun 23
I'm gonna listen to the muni court update (coming up in a few minutes) but prob not gonna tweet.

Here's the presentation if you're interested:…
I will turn my notes into a thread or article if there is interesting stuff... which I imagine there will be. For instance: I just want you to note how many steps there to get housed (Slide 17+18). And that's just if everything goes perfectly. It doesn't, often!
OK, this is too interesting not to tweet.
Read 26 tweets
Jun 23
Yates: I'm going to be voting against the moratorium for the Police Oversight Panel. POP has not asked for this; when city attorneys advised that a council moratorium would be legally safer, several members said they wanted to send a message, comparing it to a strike.
They're gonna keep working on previously accepted cases, Yates says, keeping them busy through September. And ordinance changes will be read in early October.
Yates: "I have to ask, what happens if the POP ordinance changes recommended by the independent consultant are not acceptable to some or all of the members. We already know some requested changes are unlikely to be accepted by council."
Read 36 tweets
Jun 23
Back again tonight, sans margarita, to tweet just a lil bit of the city council meeting, including a vote to pass a formal moratorium on review of new complaints by the Police Oversight Panel.

And, depending on the content, maybe the muni court update.
Looks like muni court is about navigators for the unhoused population, so I'll give that a listen and let you know what's interesting.
Judge Linda Cooke's last meeting is tonight, after 20+ years in that role. They're doing a declaration for her tonight.
Read 4 tweets

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