by Becky Johnson
May 16, 2015
Santa Cruz, CA. — As communities across the country fight against
and brutality, we galvanize in our resolve to reform police departments
so that they
are the servants of the people, protecting us from harm, and under the
the City Manager and the City Council.
Why is this necessary?
Because when we entrust certain individuals to carry lethal force, with
to detain, cite, arrest, and later testify in court against us, we must be
sure they are
following a code of conduct that is consistent with fair and ethical
Different police departments go astray in different ways. In Ferguson, the
of the population were singled out for massive ticketing to fill the
In Oakland, a thuggish mentality won out that was so corrupt
financially, a State
Auditor had to take over control of the administration.
In San Jose, Ca., police have an inordinately high rate of shooting
mental ill people.
Call a cop. Execute your family member.
But what’s up with the SCPD?
First, we have an unusually high rate of arrests per officer. It’s 11.1
arrests per officer
per year. By comparison, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, with,
larger criminal populations, the average is 4 arrests per officer per year.
We have 99 sworn police officers and a total of 135 paid employees.
This in a City with a population of 62,000 with a ratio of one officer
per 697 residents.
But wait! That population figure includes UCSC which also has its own
While crime rates are dropping, in some cases precipitously, our jails
overflowing and our courts are jammed. In fact, the Board of
approved a $25 million jail EXPANSION in already, the most incarcerated
state in the union.
So who is getting detained, cited, arrested, convicted, and jailed?
According to Vice-Chief Steve Clark, 42% of arrests are of homeless people.
32% of the citations written are to homeless people, virtually none for violent crimes.
In fact, the three most-cited crimes in Santa Cruz do not have an
actual victim complaining.
The crime wave in Santa Cruz requiring such a large police force is mostly for BEING in a park after hours, camping, or for smoking.
A “campsite” can be a car. It can be a piece of cardboard set down on wet grass in a park.
general fund, and is by far the biggest
The safest way to curb police power is to reign in their budgets.