ALAMEDA, Calif. (KRON) – The Alameda City Council is calling for immediate action in creating a non-police response unit.
When it comes to paying for it, the mayor of Alameda says all options are on the table.
The city council is directing the city manager to immediately order training for Alameda police dispatchers and officers on assessing and responding to calls for service.
“Including identifying calls that require calls that require police-led intervention and calls that don’t,” Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said.
Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft took part in calling a special meeting over the weekend to expedite changes in police response policies that were previously recommended by a subcommittee.
She explains why there is a sense of urgency now.
“I was seeing incidents across the country but including here in the Bay Area involving policing, involving times where it seems like there might have been a better more appropriate response and I felt like we just need to fast track,” Ezzy Ashcraft said.
The mayor says last month’s police-involved death of 26-year-old Mario Gonzales was not the reason for the special city council meeting. However, if there was a non-police response that day.
The attorney for Mario Gonzales was asked, ‘do you think your client would still be alive?” In response, she said:
“Yes! Of course.”
The attorney representing Mario Gonzales and his family, Julia Sherwin, had this to say about the city of Alameda picking up the pace of establishing of removing armed police from answering non-violent calls for service.
“You know it’s excellent that the city of Alameda is now deciding that they want to deal with this on an emergency basis. It’s very unfortunate they didn’t do this years ago and, we are very concerned that when anything is done on a rush basis like this, that it won’t be done in a thoughtful-mindful way,” Sherwin said.
Mayor Ezzy Ashcraft says she wants to identify all current mental health resources available to better inform the potential costs for non-police response.
She says the city is also looking to see if some of the $29-million Alameda received from the American Rescue Plan Act can be used to pay for it.
She even says she is not ruling out reallocating some of the current police budget to make it happen.
“I don’t want to foreclose any options. I don’t want to prejudge until I have seen what’s available,” Ezzy Ashcraft said.