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Although Austin has remained a relatively safe city, there have been far too many shootings of African American men. What kind of changes would you institute at APD to reduce the number of officer-involved shootings and reduce the degree of mistrust that exists between the African American community and the police?

We will Not Fight Against the Police, We will Rebuild From Within — The police as an institution is not the enemy. Policing only exists to quell the fears that we will choose to act in violation of our agreements (laws) as a society. In our current expression, we have a police force for a reason, and we must honor their presence as a unified body. Our honesty about problems with the police will serve us best when we have compassion for the individuals collectively responsible for those problems. The system itself is deeply flawed, and thus we must hold ourselves (as a city) collectively responsible for the malpractice of recruitment, training, oversight, outcomes and narratives. We will need a comprehensive process of auditing the entire police force, with transparency & detailed accounts considering every angle, so we can address where healing and justice may still be unresolved or unacknowledged altogether. If there is discovered action that the police force has taken to negatively impact members of our community, we must explore possibilities for new action to be taken that can in some way better the health of our community and any specifically affected individuals from these occurrences. Post-audit, we must begin to unify with common cause for the ultimate wellbeing of all people in Austin; we must work together.

True Accountability Starts with a Collectively Aware Individual – At the core of every violation of rights is the unawareness of the individual when making poor choices. For example, when an officer shoots and kills an unarmed citizen, they most likely do not perceive this as murder, or in the most extreme case, may indeed have been led to believe by the system and history that they are allowed to murder someone, or even that it is the duty. Why do we have such distorted thinking in our world? Could it be we have missed a crucial opportunity to educate our children in such a way as to ensure that no person is raised with such deeply imbedded trauma, so no one has the consciousness to manifest violence toward another? Why would we not strive for the best possible outcome in human relations? To place our best effort to raise generations with such high regard for life, and such skilled defense of life, that personal accountability is defined by service to the peace and prosperity of the collective, so as to preserve the maximum potential life of the individual? We must take it upon our own individual choice to become leaders in this regard, NOW, to accept full responsibility for where we’ve come, to empower us fully to lead the change of heart in our tribe. On a quantum level, when one of us dies, we all die. It’s time to acknowledge our connectedness and act accordingly. This is not a war zone, this is our home. We want everyone to feel safe at home, to be free.  the culture shift we must make now, and this culture of leadership will underline every aspect of our new approach to community protection, so hopefully one day sooner rather than later, no one will be triggered by the word police.

Higher Standards, Total Re-Training, Better Benefits – We must have higher training standards, to include all the updated understanding of physics, biology, emotional intelligence, spiritually guided awareness practices, energy healing work, holistic medicines, and of course new defense technologies that do not kill and maim. Our officers must become the most intelligent force, the most deeply explored and vetted, the most rigorously auditioned by the community ourselves. To become a police officer in the New Austin Protection Force of Good will become a great honor. So, all current officers will be transitioned into this new training as well, and all must be re-qualified in order to be fully transitioned. Those who do not pass will be respectfully retired. We have the opportunity to attract the best talent right here in Austin, the strongest among us who will be kept safe by us, and who will keep us safe. Benefits can become greater, free utilities, tax exemptions, and any relevant incentives the community decides. Remember, this is the peoples force, not the State’s Army. This is a crucial distinction. The idea is to make it so difficult, and so worth it, to become a police officer in Austin, and in the process of doing so, in such a public and transparent and celebrated way, the people will become more collectively aware of keeping the city safe for everyone, and in turn our interactions with each other will develop more respect and more overall wellness for all of us. It is not a police force that will eliminate crime. It is the people who will choose to transcend criminal behavior towards each other.

No Long Term Practices, Full Adaptivity – One major issue we have today, in a subconscious and dangerous layer of policing in America, is the ingraining of policing practices over time. If the police become accustomed to treating a city like a war zone, and if training mimics that scenario, and if lived experiences carry out this path, it fuels a vicious cycle of repeat behaviors. What we see now is too many assumptions based on the generational inheritance of police practices. These practices of course are traced back to jim crow, slavery, witch hunting, and can even be associated with medieval catholic tactics to root out indigenous spiritual practices. This is serious stuff, and if we just blindly inherit the characteristics of a system, its unlikely to change quickly. We’re just repeating history. So we need to break the cycle. This starts with the honest auditing process. We should never get used to parts of our city, or certain people within our society, as being our adversary or enemy. We must treat every single NEW scenario as a completely new scenario. We should always be challenging our assumptions with policing, updating our collective awareness, training, and adapting to whatever needs present themselves.