In advance of the Berkeley City Council meeting on Urban Shield, please sign our petition to get Berkeley out of Urban Shield! Organized by the IB Racism & Criminal Justice team.
We the undersigned, residents of Berkeley, respectfully request that the Mayor and City Council direct Berkeley city employees to withdraw from Urban Shield and re-direct funding and attention to public safety programs that will enable our communities to be resilient in the face of disaster. We believe that we must take both a principled stand, as well as practical action, to focus our efforts on community programs that promote safety for all of our citizens, and resilience in the face of disaster. There are alternatives to Urban Shield that would increase our disaster preparedness. Many cities in the area have chosen not participate in, or have opted out of, Urban Shield.
We object to the further militarization of the Berkeley Police force and Fire Department for the following reasons:
Urban Shield is a highly militarized police training exercise that endangers Berkeley residents. The militarized tools in Urban Shield are going to a police department that has a demonstrated pattern of racial bias and profiling.
The increased militarization of police has led to unnecessary use of force against vulnerable communities.
Policing in our communities has resulted in a disproportionate number of people of color being targeted, detained, incarcerated, injured, and in too many cases, killed.
The Federal Justice Department, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is actively pursuing aggressive and outdated policies of mass incarceration, “get tough” policing tactics, mandatory sentencing guidelines, and programs to militarize police forces.
The Department of Homeland Security, under Secretary John Kelly, is actively targeting hard-working immigrant families, detaining and deporting them without due process.
The same programs which fund Urban Shield also fund regional and national surveillance systems that have been historically linked to mass surveillance and political repression.
The risk of the types of attacks that Urban Shield trains for are very low. Time and money spent training for these types of attacks is time and money not spent on the real safety and resilience needs of our city.
The men and women of the Berkeley Police and Fire departments deserve policies that actually support and enhance effective response to emergencies and natural disasters.