Police Reform and Racial Equity

In August 2020, the City Manager appointed a Steering Committee to take the lead in developing a community-led process and work plans to address the future of policing and systemic racism in Alameda. As part of this process, the Steering Committee appointed members to five Subcommittees:

  • Unbundling Services Currently Delivered by the Police Department
  • A Review of Police Department Policies and Practices
  • Police Department Accountability and Oversight
  • A Review of Laws that Criminalize Survival
  • Systemic and Community Racism/Anti-Racism

Click here to download a final report from the Steering Committee on Police Reform and Racial Equity(PDF, 1009KB)

On March 16, 2021, the Steering Committee presented their final recommendations to the City Council. Please click here to download the agenda, click here to download the staff report, and click here to download a March 19 press release about the actions that were taken.  

See the Previous Updates accordion for a detailed timeline of past updates.

Download the Unbundling Subcommittee's final report(PDF, 334KB) and appendix(PDF, 412KB)


To support the City of Alameda in (1) identifying the most appropriate community and governmental agencies to provide core services, thus creating a healthier and more safe Alameda for everyone, (2) eliminating the inequitable and unjust police interactions that disproportionately impact--and put at greater risk--people of color and other marginalized members of our community, and (3) striving for the best possible outcomes and most positive interactions with service providers. 


  • Provide recommendations to the City Manager regarding the delivery of public services to meet the needs of everyone
  • Evaluate community service needs, identify alternative service models, and optimize delivery of public services
  • Re-imagine, and thereby improve, public safety and the health of everyone
  • Assist in the realization and implementation of recommendations made

Subcommittee members:

  • Katherine Schwartz
  • Teresa Whinery
  • Jill Ottaviano
  • Erin Fraser (Co-Chairperson)
  • Debra Mendoza (Co-Chairperson)
  • Venecio Camarillo
  • Jono Soglin
  • Lynn Cunningham
  • Beth Kenny
  • Angel Hunter

Summary of Recommendations:

More than 50% of APD calls for service are for non-criminal matters. We recommend restructuring police services to have non-police professionals respond to non-criminal matters, such as mental health professionals responding to mental health calls. Such a restructuring would (1) reprioritize police duties to criminal matters, (2) provide improved service to those in need, and (3) reduce police encounters marked by systemic racism and the use of excessive force against people of color.

Download the Policies & Practices Subcommittee's final report(PDF, 116KB)

Mission: To review, evaluate, and make recommendations to improve current training policies, practices and procedures with an eye toward making revisions and maximizing service to and communication with the community in order to improve the quality of interactions between the police and the community. To ensure that police policies and procedures meet the standards and expectations of the Alameda community. 


 1) To recommend changes to policies that will result in minimizing the need for the use of force.

  • To learn about challenges in training and policies, where they are/are not working and think through how a training office would be most effective

  • To listen to and engage in a collaborative process with the community, youth, and police department to engage in learning about challenges, problematic policies, and generating recommendations

2) To streamline the policies and procedures into an easily digestible form (eg 10 points) - not necessarily to replace but to supplement the larger manual.

3) To create an enforceable Officer Code of Conduct.

4) To cross-walk Alameda training practices with promising 21st century [doc] policing recommendations and other sources (eg. Campaign Zero Model, NOBLE https://files.constantcontact.com/5aa6d586be/b9904dc5-946e-4a9c-9ef5-00a47c6b45e2.pdf and, https://www.scribd.com/document/434059851/Blacks-In-Law-Enforcement-of-America-Recommendations-for-Police-Policy-Procedure-Oversight).

Subcommittee members:

  • Gretchen Hoff Varner
  • Danielle Motley-Lewis (Co-chairperson)
  • Al Mance (Co-chairperson)
  • Serena Chen
  • Ivy Leichman
  • Julie Norris
  • Peter Onderwater 
  • Emily Langworth

Summary of Recommendations:

The City should hire a professional consultant to bring our Police Department’s policies and procedures in line with contemporary best practices that are informed by the values of our community and include procedural justice. Professional engagement should focus on the following elements, (1) APD should require mental health and de-escalation training on an annual or semi-annual basis, (2) consideration of an Alameda Police Department Code of Conduct, and (3) create a Police Policies and Procedures Review Board.

Download the Accountability & Oversight Subcommittee's final report(PDF, 248KB)


The APD Community Accountability and Oversight Committee, working together with those affected most by policing in Alameda and other community stakeholders, to foster an atmosphere of dignity, respect, and trust; seeks to listen, discover and report patterns of systemic racism and other forms of marginalization in police behavior by: developing recommendations for the creation of systems of oversight, ensure accessible complaint processes, increase transparency, deter police misconduct, promote thorough/fair investigations, identify patterns and opportunities for harm prevention and/or restorative justice, and manage adaptability to adjust to changing community needs over time.

  • Conduct research and listening campaigns to explore justification for and commitment to develop dynamic and effective police accountability and oversight.
  • Strengthen the review of internal accountability of police processes to include a measure of successful interactions, early warning systems, to retain and promote peace officers, exemplifying dignity, respect, and trust.
  • Survey and recommend models of civilian police review, to find the right combination of practical and visionary police oversight for Alameda. 

Subcommittee members:

  • Ayse Sercan
  • Laura Fries
  • Nairobi Taylor
  • Jennifer Rakowski
  • Melodye Montgomery (Co-Chairperson)
  • Gavin Maxwell (Co-Chairperson)
  • Sean Cahill

Summary of Recommendations: 

The City should establish a Civilian Oversight Board by charter amendment to hear complaints and investigate incidents, with a broad set of powers to proactively review patterns of policing to eliminate systemic injustice. Where possible the focus should be on restorative justice and mediation, finding a way to hear community voices and make positive change in policing, rather than models of punishment and uneven power. The Board should create a strong, broad non-discrimination policy including race, nationality, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status, economic status, or housing status.

Download the Laws that Criminalize Survival final report(PDF, 108KB)  


 As a committee, we will analyze data on police involvement in Alameda pertaining to issues that “criminalize survival.” These include (but are not solely limited to): homelessness/unhoused populations and protocol around space, loitering, and presence; arrests and other forms of police action taken towards sex workers and sex trafficking victims, misdemeanors, and within the framework of other street economies; and on the fines and fees associated with the criminal justice system (both on local levels and county levels). We strive to produce research that, when possible, directs police energies, campaigns, and services away from the above issues, and towards community-run organizations and social services who prioritize the well-being and mental health of their served populations. 


  • Purview existing literature within above subjects to familiarize ourselves with existing campaigns, laws, and policy pushes surrounding these issues (e.g. work from Advancing Financial Justice SF)
  • Locate and utilize publicly available data to produce comparative case studies  between Alameda and demographically similar cities in our final recommendation
  • Produce finalized policy report for city manager with policy recommendations for City Council

Subcommittee members:

  • Ert O'Hara
  • Barbara Caulfield
  • Amy Gong Liu (Chairperson)
  • Dr. Richard McCline
  • Meredith Akers 
  • Rev. Myrna Bernaddal Huey 
  • Elisha Wilson 
  • Michael Hulihan
  • Pamela Waters-Rolleri
  • Sheri Smith 
  • Rosemary Jordan 

Summary of Recommendations: 

The City should conduct further analysis on any kinds of punitive measures that disproportionately target BIPOC/low income individuals who associate with the City of Alameda. This includes (but is not limited to) monetary sanctions, traffic/towing fines, misdemeanors and possession-related charges, and interactions with homeless and unhoused individuals. Additionally, we recommend that the City develop a standard community needs assessment survey and utilize additional forms of longitudinal data collecting in its analysis. 

Download the Systemic and Community Racism Subcommittee's final report(PDF, 698KB)

Mission: Our subcommittee has identified 5 different areas of systemic racism within our community that we will seek to address and remedy. We will push to get public portals for community feedback, and get such systems in place - within both the City Government & Law enforcement - in an effort to collect data relevant to our greater mission; a more inclusive city. We endeavor to implement programs within AUSD, focusing on creating racially-focused dialogue between staff & administration, students & their parents/guardians, and the greater community. Upon receipt of collected data, we’ll then undertake a plan to assess the remaining areas of concern with respect to systemic racism within the city of Alameda. 

Five Identified Areas of Concern: 

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Law Enforcement
  • City Government


  • Address racism in the education space, particularly as it pertains to Alameda's youth & their families. Implement plan to amplify and support youth leaders as they facilitate conversations about race amongst their high school peers, elementary/middle school children, and their parents/guardians.
  • Create a reporting and feedback system (i.e. “City of Alameda Antiracism Reporting/Feedback Tool”) for residents to report instances of prejudice, abuse of power, and racism that they witness, then provide that data to city staff for assessment. We will help amplify this portal’s existence to the community once it’s active.
  • Develop a platform for holistic storytelling about past instances of racial profiling and racial prejudice, in an effort to highlight some of the reasons Alameda doesn't feel safe for our Black & non-Black residents of color. Brainstorm a way to change that narrative.
  • Collect data from various feedback platforms to assess and/or address any instances of prejudice/racism within our local healthcare providers, landlords, and City Services (Fire/EMT, code enforcement, building inspection).

Subcommittee members:

  • Bassey Obot
  • Madlen Saddik
  • Dede Lewis
  • Andrea Carlise
  • Raquel Williams
  • Heather Reed (Chairperson)
  • Sharon Smith Mauney
  • Hannah Groce
  • Christine Chilcott
  • Pravda Wright  

Summary of Recommendations: 

The City should adopt a budget line item for an anti-racism and equity strategy. The first tier of recommendations includes (1) establish a comprehensive public feedback portal for residents to communicate to City staff any instances of racism they experience or witness, and (2) create and implement comprehensive protocols and procedures for interacting, posting, and moderating comments and engagement on the social media channels that represent our City’s services (police, fire, etc.).

The City Manager appointed the following members to a Steering Committee that is taking the lead in developing a community-led process and work plans to address the future of policing and systemic racism in Alameda: 

  • Christine Chilcott
  • Al Mance
  • Cheryl Taylor
  • Jolene Wright

Steering Committee Mission Statement:

Engender an Alameda that is safe, welcoming and supportive for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)  to live, work, play and pray -- and be ever-vigilant that we practice the principle of "everyone belongs here.”

Though most our recommendations are made with an eye toward the protection of BIPOC who are disproportionately penalized for the color of their skin, we do so secure in the knowledge that changes and recommendations that help BIPOC are the changes and recommendations that help all marginalized and underrepresented communities within Alameda (not limited to LGBTQ, the elderly, the disabled, and our unhoused citizens). 

We are dedicated to the goal of ensuring that all Alamedans, friends/family or residents from other communities visiting Alameda experience the same level of service and professionalism.

Central to our exploration is an in-depth look at community stories and collected data, as well as conversations with APD and City Staff (hence these meetings). Simultaneously we are taking a comparative look at best practices throughout this country so as to be fiscally responsible and not reinvent the wheel where it is not necessary. 

Christine Chilcott, CEO of Girls Inc. of the Island City, has been an Alameda resident with her husband and two daughters for nine years. She is starting her fifth year on the Social Services and Human Relations Board (SSHRB) for the City of Alameda as well her second year as SSHRB President. She is honored to be on the Police Taskforce Steering Committee. 

Cheryl Taylor and her family have lived in the Fernside neighborhood since 2006. Over the years, she has served her community in a variety of ways. Cheryl co-founded an Oakland community-based federal credit union and is a former supervisory committee member on the San Francisco Federal Credit Union. Cheryl also served on the governing board of the Community Learning Center Schools, Inc., the corporation managing Nea and Alameda Community Learning Center charter schools. She is a former Girl Scout troop leader and current treasurer for the Alameda Girl Scouts service unit. At present, she is collaborating with her fellow Alamedans to relaunch the Alameda Island NAACP.  

Cheryl has a strong interest in good governance and equity, gained from her professional experience of two decades in the public and private sectors. Currently, she is interim Finance Director at the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department (SFJPD), on an eighteen month loan from the SF Public Utilities Commission. At SFJPD, she manages the department’s $42 million budget and spending. She is on the team leading her department’s work developing a racial equity action plan as part of the City and County’s overall effort to address San Francisco’s anti-Black racism and general inequities faced by people of color. Cheryl is on an eighteen-month loan from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), where she played a variety of roles in finance, energy and strategy. At SFPUC, Cheryl coordinated financing efforts to launch CleanPowerSF, the city’s clean energy program. She continues to play a key role in the SFPUC’s cost recovery efforts in the wake of the 2013 Rim Fire and 2018 March Floods affecting the organization’s upcountry headquarters. She and three colleagues received the Public Managerial Excellence Award in 2014 sponsored by SPUR for their leadership.   

Cheryl holds an A.B. from Stanford University in U.S. History and a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Ins. 

Jolene Wright has been lucky enough to call Alameda home since her migration from the brutal East Coast Winters in 2002.

With over 15 years of experience in branding, product / service innovation, and storytelling for brands across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, Jolene looks forward to working with the City of Alameda as part of the Steering Committee on Policing and Racial Reforms.

In her spare time (Pre-Covid), Jolene could be found enjoying all that Alameda and the Greater East Bay have to offer with her husband and two kids. Currently, she’s acting as Chief Learning Coordinator (while managing her team of thinkers and makers at a bi-coastal design studio as the Operations Manager).

Alphanso Mance is an assistant Public Defender in Alameda County where he currently supervises the juvenile division of the public defender’s office. Al has worked as a public defender for nearly 18 years. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and University of Michigan Law School. Al and his wife and children have lived in Alameda for eight happy years.

February 13, 2021: The Steering Committee and Subcommittee members presented draft recommendations at a Zoom Community Forum. 

January 28: The Steering Committee and Subcommittee members presented draft recommendations to the Social Services and Human Relations Board. 

January 27: The Steering Committee and Subcommittee members presented draft recommendations(PDF, 3MB) to the Transportation Commission. 

January 22: The Steering Committee and Subcommittee members presented draft recommendations(PDF, 3MB) at a Zoom Community Forum.

January 21: The City posted a press release with links to the draft recommendations, community survey, and community forum. A report of the preliminary recommendations from the five Subcommittees can be downloaded here(PDF, 765KB). Members of the public are encouraged to review these recommendations and complete this survey here. These recommendations are based on months of research and collaboration, including information provided(PDF, 586KB) by the City in response to dozens of information requests (for more information or access to these files, please email shenry@alamedaca.gov and note the request number and letter). Following a period of public engagement, the Steering Committee will present its final recommendations and a report on the public feedback to the Alameda City Council on March 16, 2021. 

January 15, 2021: The City posted a press release with an update on the release of draft recommendations and information on how the public can share their feedback.   

November 10, 12, and 16: The Community-Led Committees on Policing Review and Systemic Racism worked with the City of Alameda to host a three-night APD speaker series. APD staff presented information about the Department’s policies, practices, data, budget, and more, followed by a Q&A with Committee members. Members of the public were invited to watch via livestream.

October 19, 2020: The Subcommittee information in the accordions below were updated with additional information, including their mission and goals. 

October 6, 2020: The City posted a press release with a brief update about the selection of the Subcommittees. The Steering Committee and Subcommittees meet individually and hold joint monthly meetings. Tonight, the joint meeting of the Committees will meet the Interim Police Chief, discuss the City's budget, and talk about how information requests will be managed. 

September 10, 2020: On September 8, the Alameda Community-Led Policing Reform & Racial Equity Committees met in a kick off convening. You can view the presentation and agenda here(PDF, 1MB). The accordions below have been updated to include members of the 5 Subcommittees.

August 28, 2020: The response from community members interested in joining a Subcommittee was overwhelming. Today, invitations were sent to community members invited to participate in the process of improving police and community relations and policies, asking for their Subcommittee placement preference. Many more emails were sent thanking community members who the Steering Committee was not able to place on a task force at the present time. The accordions below will be updated with Subcommittee member names as soon as they are assigned. The City Manager will present an update from the Steering Committee and Subcommittees at a City Council meeting in October.

August 11, 2020: The City Manager appointed a Steering Committee (see accordion below) that will take the lead in developing a community-led process and work plans to address the future of policing and systemic racism in Alameda. The Steering Committee has the responsibility for selecting individual Subcommittee members (see accordion below) to review each topic area and develop a work plan. The Steering Committee and the Subcommittees are supported by the City Manager’s Office.

July 27, 2020: Call to participate in community-led task forces

July 21, 2020: The City Council received an update from the City Manager and provided feedback on the task force topic areas (see below) and authorized the Mayor to sign letters of support for State legislation on police reform.

July 16, 2020: District Attorney Declines To File Charges Following Police Incident on May 23, 2020 in the City of Alameda.

July 2, 2020: City hires Alfonso Estrada to conduct independent investigation of May 23 arrest of Alameda resident.

June 29, 2020: The City Council authorized a community-led process to address previously identified topics, including police department services, policies and practices, and oversight possibilities, as well as systemic/anti-racism and laws that criminalize survival.

June 19, 2020: Update on actions taken at City Council meetings held on June 16 and June 17.

June 17, 2020: At a Special City Council Meeting, the City Council provided direction regarding Former President Obama’s Mayor’s Pledge and the “8 Can’t Wait” initiative and approved a framework for future discussions with the community, including the following topic areas:

  • Unbundling Services Currently Delivered by the Police Department
  • A Review of Police Department Policies and Practices
  • Police Department Accountability and Oversight
  • A Review of Laws that Criminalize Survival
  • Systemic and Community Racism/Anti-Racism

June 17, 2020: Alameda Mayor's address: City to Weigh Public Safety Overhaul.

June 16, 2020: Statement regarding police reforms.

June 16, 2020: The City Council provided direction to the City Manager regarding the Police Department’s budget.

June 5, 2020: City Releases Body Worn Camera Footage of May 23 Police Detainment of African American Resident

June 4, 2020: Statement on releasing police video.

June 3, 2020: City Manager statement regarding police response to incident.