Reimagining Public Safety
The purpose of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force is to develop recommendations that make Takoma Park a safer, more livable community for all residents, with an emphasis on addressing racial inequalities that exist in government and services evolving around public safety. In light of what is happening in our country, we believe that as a city, it is our duty to take inventory of our public safety practices, with emphasis on the experiences of our Black and Brown communities. This Task Force is our opportunity to bring new voices into the process as we take stock of what is working, what is not, as we explore best practices in public safety.
The Task Force is made up of 15 individuals sourced from our diverse community and approved by the City Council. The Task Force will meet regularly throughout the months of March, April, and May to create a set of recommendations on Public Safety.
The City of Takoma Park seeks the support of community members, non-profit leaders, local business owners, educators, etc., in Takoma Park who can help us make our community a safer and more livable city that serves all residents. There will be multiple opportunities for feedback from the broader community throughout this process; stay tuned for a full schedule of upcoming public meetings.
Current Meeting Information
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
- Slide Presentation
Registration Link – (Coming Soon)
to observe the meeting on Zoom
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 (Virtual Meeting)
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 (Virtual Meeting)
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 (Virtual Meeting)
- Recorded Meeting
- Slide Deck:
– City Government Overview
– Housing and Public Safety
– Recreation and Public Safety
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 (Virtual Meeting)
Task Force Meeting Schedule*:
Full Task Force Meeting Dates:
- Tuesday, April 6, 2021 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
- Tuesday, April 20, 2021 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
- Tuesday, May 04. 2021 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Task Force Sub-Committee Meeting Dates:
Note: For these meetings, part of the meeting will be with the full Task Force and open for public viewing, and part of the meeting will consist of 3 sub-committee meetings in Zoom break-out rooms. Sub-committee topics to be selected on March 30.
- Tuesday, March 30, 2021 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
- Tuesday, April 13, 2021 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
- Tuesday, April 27, 2021 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
- Tuesday, May 11. 2021- 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
*Final report due to City Council by June 4, 2021
Coming Soon! A public comment feature
Links of Interest:
- Public Task Force Resource Folder: Coming soon!
- City Council Resolution 2020-21 Establishing a Task Force on Reimagining Public Safety to Ensure Racial Justice
- Task Force Facilitation Team
- Takoma Park’s Racial Equity Initiative Project Page
- To watch the recorded Reimagining Public Safety Task Force informational meeting on YouTube please click here.
Reimagining Public Safety Task Force Members
|Ajmel Quereshi||3||Ajmel Quereshi has committed his life to create a world in which “public safety” includes all individuals regardless of race or socioeconomic background. He currently serves as Senior Counsel at LDF, where he maintains a diverse caseload spearheading LDF’s work in the areas of education and economic justice, among others. In 2019, Ajmel led LDF’s efforts in a case on behalf of a class of school children in Baltimore who have been denied a constitutionally adequate education.|
Before joining LDF, Ajmel worked as Staff Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, where he litigated complex class action claims involving the United States’ most inhumane correctional facilities. Before joining NPP, Ajmel directed the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU of Maryland. In that capacity, he argued before Maryland’s highest court and regularly testified before the Maryland legislature. He currently serves on the ACLU of Maryland’s Board of Directors.
Ajmel frequently speaks with the media, having been interviewed by the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and National Public Radio, among many others. Ajmel’s editorial writings have appeared in the Baltimore Sun and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; he has published articles in several legal journals; and his cases have been featured by the New York Times and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, among others. In 2010, the Maryland Daily Record named him one of the top legal professionals in Maryland under 40 and the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s DC Chapter recognized him for his work in legislative advocacy.
|Christina Morado||4||Christina is a big idea creator who focuses on the process versus the result and the one that is willing to let ideas evolve over time and is also brave enough to hack them and shift course when the need arises. Born in southeastern Michigan to an African American father and a White mother, both educators, she grew up border-crossing racial, cultural, and class divides. Early in her career, Christina worked in youth development in Latin America where she learned Spanish. A product of Teachers College at Columbia University and New Leaders for New Schools, she currently serves as a senior instructional leader at a bilingual kinder – grade 8 school managing instruction, program design, and talent. Her leadership supports shrinking the ‘opportunity gap’ without teaching to the test. Most importantly, almost all of her middle school students report “I like my school” on district surveys and every teen has at least one strong relationship with a caring adult. In her spare time, Christina enjoys reading, walking with her dog, Finnegan Nigel Lamont, starting sewing projects, baking and biking. |
|Lauren Van Tol||1||Lauren Van Tol (she/her/hers) works in admissions at Lowell School, a progressive school in Washington, DC, and holds her BA in Afro-American Studies and Human Development from Howard University. She also has a certificate in Admission & Enrollment Management from the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals and an AMI Montessori Orientation certificate in Elementary (6-12) from the Montessori Institute of North Texas. She is currently pursuing an MA in Contemporary Communication from Notre Dame of Maryland University.|
Lauren volunteers as the NAACP Parents’ Council Representative for the Piney Branch Elementary School PTA and is the room parent for her son’s 5th-grade class. She enjoys connecting with the community as administrator for the Takoma Park Buy Nothing Group and a moderator for the Takoma Park Facebook Group. An enthusiastic gardener, Lauren especially enjoys indoor houseplants and keeping her Little Free Library well-stocked. She lives in Takoma Park, MD, Ward 1, with her husband Jesse, son Emerson and Yorkipoo Elliot.
Lauren is excited to collaborate with the task force to discuss how institutionalized racism impacts public safety and brainstorm potential reforms and suggestions around policies and programs that impact communities of color, and examine how mental health issues can be holistically approached.
|Emil Parker||5||Emil Parker has been a resident of Takoma Park since 1996. He is a member of Takoma Park Mobilization, focusing on policing reform and immigration issues, and the Silver Spring Justice Coalition. He has held health and human services policy positions at the federal, state and local levels and also worked for the Children’s Defense Fund. He is currently a health care consultant.|
|Sawa Kamara||5||Ms. Kamara has lived in Takoma Park for a year. She served on the TPSS food co-op. Recently, she ran for Ward 5 City Council. Professionally, she works as a Community Health Worker and is studying Public Policy. Ms. Kamara served as President of the Takoma Branch Civic Association and is passionate about community and civic engagement, social issues and addressing public safety. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Kiminori Nakamura, Ph.D.||6||Kiminori Nakamura, Ph.D. is Assistant Research Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, College Park. He brings over 15 years of experience and expertise in criminal justice research to the task force to provide a research and data-driven perspective, and to seek to impartially represent the experiences of community members and institutions. He has engaged in research collaboration with various criminal justice agencies, and uses administrative data to inform policy. His work has been supported by U.S. Department of Justice, state and local governments, and foundations, and appeared in leading criminology and criminal justice journals. He received his B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society from University of California, Irvine, and his Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.|
|Sadie Arlene Cheston Harris||3||Sadie Arlene Cheston Harris is a lifelong resident of Takoma Park, MD and a first-year student and Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Carolina, she has been working to establish both an advisory board to the campus police department and a separate counselor dispatch unit for mental health calls. Her research has centered around cities that have implemented a range of alternative policing measures. Through her work, she has developed a relationship with the UNC Police Chief and others in the department and assisted in interviews for both Officer and Telecommunicator positions. |
As part of the Takoma Park Public Safety Task Force, Sadie plans to focus on alternatives to traditional Policing; specifically, she hopes to empower youth and Black and Brown people who understandably have a tumultuous relationship with policing by providing easy access to Task Force information and updates, as well as anonymous online feedback forms that can then be incorporated into the Task Force’s recommendations. Throughout her time on the Task Force, she will inform her decisions based on both advice from existing activist groups and collected data.
|Leon Crowell||5||Leon has been a resident of Takoma Park for more than 25 years. He lived and was a maintenance worker for the Sherwood Apartments for 15 years under Steve Wasser. He also ran the National Night Out Cookout grills each year. He is currently the mayor for the Hillwood Manor Apartments complex on Linden Ave. He is very active in helping Hillwood Manor residents and neighbors with issues that may come up. He’s also active in trying to get to know Takoma Park police officers because he interacts with them as part of his role at Hillwood Manor. He looks forward to meeting everyone!|
|Michael Rubin||2||Michael Rubin, a resident of Ward 2 in Takoma Park has served as Managing Director at IMPACT Silver Spring since 2014. His role at IMPACT, whose mission is to build racial and economic equity in the county, involves overseeing operations and providing technical assistance to immigrant cooperatives and small businesses. Michael also represents IMPACT on the Silver Spring Justice Coalition. He is active in Jews United for Justice, Progressive Neighbors and serves as Board Treasurer for Crossroads Community Food Network and CHI Centers. Michael has been active in racial justice work for many years and has been a participant in multiple anti-racism trainings, caucus spaces and actions for over 25 years.|
His motivation for serving on the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force is his understanding that policing has historically been and currently is a key enforcer of the structural racism prevalent in our institutions and society, and that his community of Takoma Park is well situated (in its politics, its diversity and its size) to be a leader in experimenting with new models of public safety and can serve as a role model for the county at large.
He defines success in this effort as after analysis of our policing data, community input and work being done in other jurisdictions, the task force returns a set of recommendations that start us down the path to both reimagine policing and actually implement changes that increase equity and actualize a more just, humane and equitable vision for public safety in our community.
|Adam Braskich||6||Adam Braskich has been a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia since 2018. In this role, he currently investigates and prosecutes violent felonies and works closely with detectives and officers from the Metropolitan Police Department. In previous assignments, Adam has handled misdemeanors, felony gun and drug cases, and criminal appeals. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Adam was an attorney at a private law firm where he represented a wide range of clients including criminal defendants and plaintiffs in civil rights cases. Adam began his career in the Baltimore Police Department, where he was a patrol officer from 2008-2011. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Harvard Law School and is a resident of Ward 6. Adam joined the task force to help implement real, observable changes in the way law enforcement is conducted in Takoma Park. He envisions reforms that are informed by evidence and best practices in the field and that will guide officers toward the sorts of fair, constructive policing that our most vulnerable communities need and deserve.|
List of Task Force Members (Not Shown)
- Xitlalli Velasquez – Ward 3
- Cedric Boatman – Ward 4 (former)
- Olajide Atoyebi – Ward 6
- Jumana Musa – Ward 6
- Duane Scott – Ward 6