The single item of regular business on the agenda is on racial equity: city initiatives and procedures. It is difficult to have an item like this on a City Council agenda with many purposes, but given the urgency of the topic, the administration wanted to provide the City Council with a platform to begin addressing our best next steps on the issue.
First, the Mayor has wanted the administration to focus on listening to the community. Mayor Pauly and many members of the City Council have been doing this the past several weeks in many venues. That listening must and will continue with public comment Monday night and will continue in other ways in coming weeks. Second, the Mayor wanted staff to provide the City Council and a community a baseline of where we are at on several fronts: Police procedures, Municipal Court initiatives, internal City staff equity initiatives and our external efforts in the community. From this baseline, the Mayor wants input from the community and City Council on appropriate next steps. The administration believes some of these next steps include:
- Reviewing reports done in recent years on policing and seeing if there are recommendations that make sense for Issaquah to pursue;
- A review of Police Department procedures and department budget to ensure policies and budget align with community standards;
- Updating workplans for community and staff equity initiatives; and
- Strategies for additional public comment on problems and potential solutions.
The Mayor plans to announce Monday night that she has signed on to the Obama Foundation’s Mayors Pledge. The pledge includes –
1. REVIEW your police use of force policies.
2. ENGAGE your communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories in your review.
3. REPORT the findings of your review to your community and seek feedback.
4. REFORM your community’s police use of force policies.
Mayor Pauly believes that the framework of the pledge makes sense for our next steps: review existing policies and programs, engage community in review, report findings of review and seek additional community feedback, and implement reforms.
Monday night marks the beginning of reviewing our existing programs. The administration is asking the City Council for its review of the proposed approach, request any additional information required and provide other comments and direction. The administration is proposing the City Council meet again in a special meeting on June 29 to once again hear from the public and begin moving forward on process to implement any identified changes to our policies and programs.
Learn more in the agenda packet.