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Politics

Berkeley Measure II: Police Accountability Board

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A police car parked near Dwight Way.

This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

Berkeley was an early adopter of citizen oversight of its police force. It established a Police Review Commission in 1973, well before Oakland and San Francisco.

But after nearly fifty years, proponents of Measure II say the commission is outdated, lacks power, and lags behind other progressive reforms found around the Bay Area.

Measure II would give the commission a fresh new name: the Police Accountability Board, and create a new process to investigate and review police misconduct. It would extend deadlines for the public to file complaints against police officers and lower the burden of proof when investigating complaints, (cut in narration: and allow the board to subpoena both documents and officer testimony.)

Measure II also allows for the Police Accountability Board to recommend discipline of sworn police officers, propose policy changes, and advise on hiring the Chief of Police. 

It was written and placed on the ballot by a coalition of the Berkeley Police, the Police Review Commission, and the City Council. It’s endorsed by local chapters of the ACLU, NAACP, and the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform.

Who’s against Measure II? Well, that is a lot harder to tell. No formal argument against it has been submitted. Many people have been calling to “defund” police, and Measure II would cost an additional three hundred thousand dollars per year. 

But advocates point out that’s less than 0.5% of the Police Department’s total budget.

So Berkeley voters: a yes vote on Measure II would replace the Police Review Commission (with a Police Accountability Board with expanded powers) and update its operations. A no vote would leave the current Police Review Commision as is. 

Find more coverage about what's on your Bay Area ballot at kalw.org/elections.