BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — The Berkeley City Council is considering a new proposal that would remove police from traffic and parking enforcement.

The proposal would shift traffic and parking enforcement duties from the police department to unarmed civil servants within a new Department of Transportation.

The legislation was introduced by Councilmember Rigel Robinson and is co-sponsored by Mayor Jesse Arreguín and councilmembers Ben Bartlett and Lori Droste.

Police pull over more than 20 million motorists per year in the United States, making traffic stops the most common interaction drivers have with police. Far too often, traffic stops turn deadly.

The nation has seen it with Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Rodney King, Maurice Gordon and others.

The proposal also opens up the conversation on the role of modern policing, and the harm it has disproportionately inflicted on the Black community.

The 2018 CPE report The Science of Justice found that Black and Hispanic drivers and pedestrians are stopped at much higher rates by Berkeley police. Local advocates have joined the nationwide call for a reimagining of the role of policing in traffic enforcement.

If passed, this legislation would allow the creation of a Department of Transportation, in order to ensure a racial justice lens in traffic enforcement and the development of transportation policy, programs, and infrastructure.

“Berkeley residents have made it clear that the current model of policing is not working for our city,” Councilmember Robinson said. “I’m grateful to have worked with policing and transportation advocates in our community to put forward this proposal, and I’m excited to continue the conversation on reimagining public safety and reducing the role of police in our lives — starting with the way we conduct enforcement on our streets.”

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