I am a candidate for Beaverton City Council. As a 28 year Army veteran, I understand the fundamental importance of public safety as the basis for a secure and prosperous City and society.
I have lived and worked in places where public safety was either corrupt, incompetent, or non-existent — notably Honduras and Iraq. As social scientist Nicholas Christakis wrote: ‘Humans have a propensity for animosity and violence.’
After calling out rampant corruption in the Honduran Government, the US Embassy’s Marine Detachment placed my home under 24 hour surveillance out of concern for my safety, appreciating that the local police had no intention of protecting me.
In Iraq, I never left the Iraqi Army base where I lived without a dedicated detachment of heavily armed body guards. Yes, there were local police, but being completely outgunned by the local populace, they were relegated to traffic control activities.
On a more personal note, I was one of maybe five students of color in my Salem high school and felt trepidation seeing a white police officer coming down the hallway. I can also tell you that the first three police officers I met after settling in Beaverton were people of color, which made me optimistic.
Beaverton Police policies are informed by the 2015 Campaign Zero and the 2020 ‘8 Can’t Wait’ recommendations. We must ensure that Police equipment, training, and rules of engagement are commensurate with the threat.
Data, facts, and intelligence must be our guide to ensure Police have a full range of capabilities and training, including de-escalation. I am encouraged by the Department’s ongoing efforts to increase workforce diversity and their firm commitment to both racial equity and community representation. Policing with compassion and respect is a high bar of performance to meet and must include absolute accountability and transparency.
As a past volunteer with Beaverton’s Human Rights Advisory Commission, I look forward to considering the Commission’s Police Reform Recommendations to the Council.