Bellevue Community Listening Sessions on Police Use of Force Policies - 10/13/20, 10/15/20, 10/17/20
Virtual Meeting Highlights
Held on three different days, including one weekend day at varying times. All lasting between 1 and 1 1/2 hours. Each meeting followed the same format so the common introductory remarks will be shared first and then the details of each meeting will follow.
Introduction to Discussions
The City of Bellevue is committed to reviewing and improving the police use of force policies currently in place. Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson provided opening remarks welcoming all and stating that this was a safe place to share comments and provide input. This is an opportunity for the community to share experiences and ideas for improvements. The City is listening.
The meetings were facilitated by three people from the OIR (Office of Independent Review) group. They specialise in police reform with a civil rights perspective with about 20 years experience. One of the three was a previous law enforcement officer. The OIR group has done previous work for King County.
The Bellevue City Council has made a four-part pledge as follows:
The OIR group took a few polls during the sessions - one at the beginning (whether you were a Bellevue resident, just worked in Bellevue, lived nearby, etc.). Another asking why they were at the meeting. Another about how familiar or not they were with current police use of force policies. From these polls an estimate of participation was made:
. About 40+ people at Oct 13 meeting
. About 35+ people at Oct 15 meeting
. About 15+ people at Oct 17 meeting
Discussion/Comments from Oct. 13 meeting
It was stated by the facilitators that they could see from the chat comments that some folks were disappointed that they could not learn more, have questions answered but the purpose of the meeting was just for the facilitators/City to listen and take feedback.
Discussion/Comments from Oct. 15 meeting
Discussion/Comments from Oct 17 meeting
At the end of all three meetings the facilitators told all that they could provide further comments up until Oct 30 to firstname.lastname@example.org and engaging Bellevue website.
Participants seemed frustrated by the narrow scope of the conversation. It was clear from the three sessions that those who attended were expecting more of a dialog or Q&A rather than providing to the facilitators ideas/language for a better police use of force policy. Confusion could have been avoided through clearer communication about the goals, scope, and structure of the event. People in all three sessions felt that others should be represented and have input, so it would have helped to have an explanation up front that these sessions were just a piece of the City's analysis and there was a plan for further outreach to stakeholders.
Links to Video
The October 13, 2020 session can be viewed here, the October 15 session here, and the October 17 session here.