Submitted by Chief Greg Premo.
Earlier this year, the Pierce County Council ordered a review of the criminal justice system here in Pierce County and on Sept. 16 the report was presented to the County Council. The review examined the percentages of arrests, bookings and court charging data based on the race of the defendant, as well as policies and practices around many of the police reform topics currently being discussed. The report included recommendations on each of those topics. I encourage you to take a look at the full document here.
You will see that many of the items around police reform are already in place here in Pierce County and at UPPD. It also identifies areas for improvement and further discussion. I believe there is still a long way to go in educating our communities on what policing is all about. Some people will look at the arrest data and draw immediate conclusions about police operations, the officers and their intentions. But I caution that it is hard to draw any quick conclusions for such a complex issue.
Here at UPPD, we value community engagement and education. Each year we host free classes for citizens that focus on personal safety and crime prevention. We also host a Citizen’s Academy with classes discussing police training and tactics, and police operations here at UPPD. The pandemic has limited our ability to do these classes in person, but we decided we still needed to provide something. So last week we started a “virtual” citizen’s academy. This academy is focused on many police reform topics. For those who were unable to attend, we will have recorded presentations available for the entire community to view at the conclusion of the six-week session.
We are looking forward to hosting some upcoming forums on Public Safety in U.P. at the start of the new year. I hope you will plan to join us. As citizens, you have some important decisions to make about the future of policing in your city and you should be fully informed before doing so. Please watch for more information as we get closer to January. In the meantime, as always please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.