Takoma Park Reimagining Public Safety Task Force Recommendation Deadline Extended to June
The Takoma Park Reimagining Public Safety Task Force (RPSTF) first convened in March 2021. The purpose of the 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 regarding public safety. The City Council created the Task Force as an opportunity for the City to bring community voices into the process as we take stock of what is working, what is not, and explore best practices in public safety in our City.
To date, the Task Force has met weekly as a full Task Force and established subcommittees related to Alternate Methods to Policing, Community Quality of Life, and Community Engagement and Transparency. The group has received and analyzed data from City agencies on traffic stops, arrests, and budgeting. The Task Force invited a number of subject matter experts to present information on topics ranging from housing and mental health to communications and complaint management. A complete record of meeting recordings and summaries can be found on the RPSTF project page here.
The Task Force has hosted two Community Listening Sessions so far where community members were able to address Task Force members directly. The City has also created a number of opportunities for Takoma Park stakeholders to engage with this project. LINK Strategic Partners and Expectant Advisory, the Task Force’s facilitation partner, have conducted a series of stakeholder interviews with individuals in Takoma Park including school principals, renter community members, long-term residents, community leaders, and more. LINK also facilitated a focus group discussion for local community leaders and two focus groups with Takoma Park police officers. In the coming weeks, we are working with the business community to hold discussions to receive additional feedback. There is also an online survey open to the public to provide written comments that can be accessed here.
In the next six weeks, the Task Force will continue to meet to draft and refine recommendations for the City of Takoma Park. This timeline extension allows the Task Force to process additional community feedback and work with subject matter experts on further research while also ensuring that recommendations are finalized and communicated to the City Council in time to leverage funds anticipated from the American Recovery Plan Act.
As their efforts progress, please provide feedback to the Task Force using the public comment form on the project website here. The Task Force will hold a final Community Listening Session in mid-June to present initial recommendations for feedback – stay tuned for more information on how to participate.
Overview of Past Meetings:
- March 16: Deep dive into the focus of the Task Force; discussed timeline, structure and process; spent time defining success for the work
- March 23: Task Force members received an overview of city government and agencies; discussion of subcommittees and structure; begin to identify subcommittee focus areas
- March 30: Task Force members went into breakouts to discuss subcommittee structure; what is working, what is not, and what can be done moving forward; resources and subject matter experts needed to accomplish the tasks.
- April 6: Chief DeVaul presented detailed traffic stop data as requested, overall and by race, and took questions from Task Force members.
- April 13: The proposed subcommittee assignments and their facilitators were announced. The subcommittees met to begin their work, map out recommendations for action, and identify further resource needs.
- April 20: Task Force citizen leads were announced, and they and subcommittee members reported on the themes developed during the subcommittee meetings of 4.13
- April 27: Grayce Wiggins, Manager of Housing and Community Development, was the guest speaker for the open portion of the meeting. City subject matter experts met with the subcommittees to respond to questions about their areas of expertise and their agencies’ operations.
- May 4: Chief of Police Antonio DeVaul gave an overview of arrest data for Takoma Park 2015-2020 and took questions from Task Force members. City Manager Suzanne Ludlow gave an overview of the Takoma Park budget and took questions from Task Force members.
- May 11: Subcommittees continued to dig into data and identify subject matter experts specific to their focus areas.
- May 18: Subcommittees reported on their process and progress. The Task Force and attendees heard from subject matter experts they had requested: Claudia Tolson, Takoma Park Police Department Victim/Witness Coordinator, and Dr. Simone Walton, Mental Health Subcommittee Lead on the Montgomery County Task Force.
- May 25: Subcommittees worked to further refine the recommendations developing from their research. Subject matter experts requested by Task Force members met with the subcommittees: Dara Baldwin, Director of National Policy, Center for Disability Rights; Bernice Mireku-North, The North Law Group, Co-Chair, Montgomery County Task Force; Marc Mauer, Senior Advisor at The Sentencing Project, Co-Chair, Montgomery County Task Force; Donna Wright, Takoma Park Communications Specialist; Andrew Powell, Deputy Chief & Internal Affairs Representative Takoma Park Police Department; Dan Frishkorn, Captain, Takoma Park Police Department; Jessica Clarke, Takoma Park Deputy City Manager
- June 1: Subcommittee report-outs on refining recommendations. Subject matter experts Delegate David Moon and Ann Ciekot of Public Policy Partners provided an overview of legislative reform efforts related to public safety at the State level