A Year In Mill Valley

Fixing America: Where to start? Start at home!

I sent this letter to all of the Mill Valley council members, and all the Marin County Supervisors. I intend to attend meetings of both, and ask them to “perform a fully transparent, open to the public, review of all of policing and social service policies and budgets.” Because if we can’t do it in Marin County, how do expect it to be done anywhere else?


In this article “How Much Do We Need The Police?” they ask and answer some interesting questions around how we have gone from police being here to “Protect and Serve”, to them being asked to solve all of our societal ills — mental health issues, homelessness, drug addiction, and all the other things that we have defunded over the years.

I would like to suggest that both Mill Valley and Marin County take a top down approach to reviewing its social services and police and sheriff departments, and to review the police and sheriff department’s charter, operations and budget.  It may be that we have the right number of officers.  That they are perfectly trained in the latest techniques of de-escalation before force.  That they don’t have any military equipment in their arsenal.  That they investigate, and fire, officers for misconduct.  That misconduct charges are fully searchable and transparent to all citizens, and that they are never deleted or redacted.  And that their contract does not contain egregious clauses and language which makes it impossible to discipline or fire officers.  

It may be that all of those things are perfect and true, but it’s unlikely.  And so I would like to see us perform a fully transparent, open to the public, review of all of these policies.  Because if we can’t do it here, in Mill Valley and Marin County, where we haven’t (yet) had any problems, how can we expect it to happen anywhere else, where tensions are higher?

Please don’t wait until it’s too late.  Please do this now, while you will be sure to get the backing of the citizens of this great city, county and state.

I leave you with two articles that I think you’ll find interesting.

What do protesters want? Here are 10 demands sent to the Dallas Police Department, local leaders

How to Actually Fix America’s Police: Elected officials need to do more than throw good reform dollars at bad agencies

Frank Leahy, A Dad In Mill Valley

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