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An Updated Letter to SCPD Police Chief Mills in the Wake of the George Floyd Murder
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Friday May 29th, 2020 10:28 AM
In anticipation of possible protests in Santa Cruz regarding police violence and racial injustice, I've written Chief Andy Mills a follow-up letter regarding concerns I expressed 2 1/2 years ago. I begin with an earlier letter I sent him, and his responses to that letter. Attempts to get more detailed information were unsuccessful.
2017 LETTER TO CHIEF MILLS AND HIS RESPONSES
From: Andrew Mills
Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 12:51 PM
To: Robert ; s\
Subject: RE: Specific Proposals to Reforms the SCPD
Dear Robert, Steve et al

I am choosing to respond to this email because I genuinely believe the questions are from one seeking truth. You may disagree with some of my responses, but for the sake of brevity, and yet transparency, I’ll do my best.

I think it worthy of note, that to change things and improve fairness and justice, people must work together for a common purpose. This is the primary purpose of the MLK march, learning to work together during an undoubtedly fractured time in our nation. We/I welcome you to join us. This does not negate the multitudes of injustice, but build a bridge we can all walk over together.

Q: Open the books on use of tasers, batons, guns, pepper spray, choke holds, & pain compliance:
A: We do this already. I will further report out uses of force to the Chiefs Advisory Committee.

Q: Cut back a bloated police budget for the largest department in the state for a city of 60,000.
A: You know this to be a fact? Even if it were true, with a University, center of commerce and County seat, not to mention a large tourist center demand incredible resources. A recent outside consulting firm stated the department must either increase staffing or reduce demand. The reality is the community must decide on what level of service they want for the price they must pay in terms of tax burden. I welcome

Q: Demilitarize and refocus the SCPD from its flash mob “shock and awe” overkill tactic.
A: I know what is generally meant by military tactics, but not sure what you mean by flash mob or shock and awe. I to believe, generally, in the reduction of military tactics and equipment when possible. There are some dangerous people who present challenging situations. These incidents take special care and concern with equipment and tactics designed to allow everyone to walk away safe. We are currently giving advanced de-escalation training to all of our staff. This is above and beyond CIT and mental health training.

Q: Refuse Drug War money, military equipment, drone, face & license surveillance technology
A: We do use asset seizure money. It is a lawful by product of criminal activity. We do not use it however for this kind of equipment. I have given money to non-profits in the past to help kids avoid crime grow educationally. We will do so again in the future. There are strict limitations on what the money can be used for.

Q: Require all SCPD officers to live in the city if not the local districts they police.
A: I would love to encourage this. It is not legally or practically possible, especially in a city where the cost of living is far beyond what we pay our officers. I would love to work toward corporate housing for new officers to get them to live in this city. Maybe you can help us find a way to do this.

Q: End abuse, citations, stay-away's, & arrests of poor & homeless people for status crimes.
A: I think my record on this speaks for itself and have paid a political price for taking this stand. Those who are houseless need to help me too. Those who are stealing and creating disturbances, and clearly not all are, have got to stop. We are also desperately trying to get the county, with its $282 million budget, to get the resources to those who need it most. The city has not legislative or budgetary mandate to approach this difficult problem. Yet it has been the Managers highest priority if your base it on time of commitment.

Q: Focus on white-collar crime; abuses against workers and tenants; rape, and real crimes
A: Believe me, our officers would love nothing more. They would rather handle investigations that make a difference.

Q: Swift suspension & prosecution of criminal cops with clear histories of violence or abuse.
A: As you know I have an IA function with External Oversight of the IA function. That person reports to the City Manager and Council.

Q: Speed accessibility to withheld recoQrds to monitor class and racial profiling.
A: Through the CPRA we give what we can to the public upon request. We are also posting those often on our Transparency portal. transparency portal

Q: Establish regular meetings with minority, poor, youth, student, disabled, and worker groups to review and assess complaints independent of the SCPD’s behind-closed-doors evaluations.
A: There are several mechanisms for this.

Q: Institute regular record keeping of all police stops involving detention or citation.
A: We do in various forms.

Q: Hold open meetings with San Lorenzo Park campers as well as others living outside to determine wants, needs, and concerns about current police behavior.
A: I regularly walk SL park and speak to the homeless. We are also getting ready to open a place for the homeless to lawfully sleep and provide wrap around services.

Q: Reveal clearly all agreements with other police agencies re: planned reaction to protests
A: There has been and continues to be an agreement with all other police agencies in the county to help one another as needed. Interestingly, I presented our plan to the community though the Chief’s Advisory Committee and by their accounts it was well thought out. My philosophy is to foster free speech, rather than suppress it. We will however be prepared for those who desire violence.

Q: Reveal all surveillance devices that regularly spy on law-abiding locals without a warrant.
A: What about those devices that don’t regularly spy? We do not use the federal warrantless court as a local police agency, nor do we have spying equipment. We are kind of boring.

Q: Demand Chief Andy Mills release all reports on Arlt slaying and ICE/DHS collusion.
A: This cannot be done and you are well aware of it. There is a law suit pending on the Arlt shooting. ICE/DHS collaboration has stopped. I locked them out of the building and they no longer have a personal desk here. It is however exempt from disclosure.

Q: End business-as-usual militarization: overkill policing tactics, ever-more invasive surveillance like “swoop and snoop” license plate readers and the “protest punisher” Bearcat.
A: The Bearcat cannot by policy be used on a protest. We do not have license plate readers, even though they are helpful in solving serious violent crime. Again, we serve the community and this is the standard I believe our community desires. So, we do not have them deployed on police vehicles or fixed positions.

I hope this helps some.

Andy Mills


LETTER SENT TO MILLS TODAY (5-29-20)
Andy,

3 1/2 years ago we corresponded regarding a flyer I had written and was distributing critical of the SCPD's policies and practices.

I intend to update that flyer in anticipation of upcoming protests regarding largely the same issues, plus some new ones arising from police behavior during the COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" situation and your recent proposals increasing public restrictions in parks and elsewhere generally.

To be fair and accurate, I'm writing you to determine if there's been any improvement you can make me aware of regarding the following issues:
Considering the history of violence of at least two of the cops on the Minneapolis Police Force who colluded in the killing of George Floyd, will you make available to the public all complaints of unlawful force or false police reports made against SCPD officers during the ten years?

Is the SCPD willing to "open the books" on "non-lethal force" use, specifically opening for public view police reports detailing the use of these devices with specifics to time, date, location, victim, officer, subsequent injury (if any), rationale, and any subsequent investigation?
Is the SCPD prepared to make public the police budgets of the last few years and itemize how the funds were spent? If this has already been done, please provide links to where the public can find this information.

Will you make available records of the last six months, detailing incidents of where more than 4 police officers converged on a "crime scene"? HUFF has received repeated complaints of half a dozen or more police officers arriving at a peaceful encampment or Pacific Ave. scene involving fewer individuals.
How much "drug enforcement" money is the police receiving, say for the last three years? What percentage of the SCPD budget goes to drug enforcement? If you have any records regarding the number of police incidents involving drug enforcement, please provide them. Do you keep such records?

HUFF has heard positive reports recently of police helping a few recovering addicts access services. Good work.

Please specify any military equipment, drone, face & license surveillance technology requested or received in the last three years by the SCPD.
How many police officers actually live within Santa Cruz City? How many within Santa Cruz County?

Are you still asking City Council to pass your 7 point program, presented to various groups earlier this year? Please provide specific records beginning in June 2019 through the present of all arrests made and citations given regarding violations of "closed area", being in a park after dark, violations of the COVID-19 orders of any kind, blocking the sidewalk, public nuisance, or unlawful encampment?

In order to dampen the "intimidation factor" and assure the public that selective enforcement is not happening, will the SCPD begin to require its officers to document all stops where police officers direct (i.e. warn) members of the public (and most relevantly homeless people) to "move along"?
How many "calls for service" are police responding to regarding complaints about vehicular residents since June 2019? I believe the Northern California ACLU has already requested this information from you. Is the SCPD regularly advising those complaining about vehicular residents that false complaints are misdemeanors punishable by fine and jail? Is the SCPD (and in particular retired police vigilante Joe Haebe) been direct to stop chalking tires as part of the 72-hour enforcement policy, which violates the 4th amendment according to the Michigan courts?

Will the police department resume reporting race and class stats (i.e. when a person has a 115 Coral St., transient, or homeless designation) on its citation/arrest summaries, as it has refused to do for the last three years? Will it allow access to these records to the general public as required by the Public Records Act?
Please provide a record of all detentions from 1-1-19 to the present including race and class stats, since your 2017 response below indicates you keep such records.

My thanks for any police help (including sandwich
distribution) helping homeless people in existing encampments and assistance to those in San Lorenzo Park. The great majority, of course, are in the Pogonip and elsewhere, much of the area within SCPD jurisdiction. Help there including trash pick-up's, portapotty access, washstation availability, electrical charging, and drinkable water is badly needed. Will the SCPD be helping to facilitate this aid?

Please provide a listing of all white-collar crime citations and/or arrests made in 2019, since you assure us this is a concern of yours.
What particular mutual aid style arrangements has the SCPD made with other agencies, state, federal, county, and private regarding mutual assistance in the event of protest activity or broad citizen resistance (say, to COVID-19 enforcement)? Your prior answer to this was vague.

Regarding police access to surveillance devices that regularly record lawful community activity, you still have not clarified where these devices are located. Will you make this information publicly available (for instance, around City Hall, or
at the SCPD HQ itself)?

Thanks for making some of the Sean Arlt documentation available on your Transparency Portal at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/government/city-departments/police/transparency-portal/sean-arlt-ois-investigation .
Does this include all the Arlt video, audio, and witness report documentation?

Please clarify what prevents you from revealing the extent of ICE/SCPD disclosure as requested three years ago.

Accurate and timely information on these issues is most helpful in assuring that truthful matter is distributed when concerns are raised about SCPD behavior and policy.

I'm sure you appreciate that.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Robert
(831-423-4833)
§Response from Chief Mills
by Andy Mills (posted by Norse)
Friday May 29th, 2020 9:55 PM
Chief Mills responded quickly to my letter with the following answers. I hope to give my response to his retorts soon. In the meantime, giving him the full right to have his reply publicly aired, here it is.

The Q's are my questions and comments. The A's are his replies.

Q: 3 1/2 years ago we corresponded regarding a flyer I had written and was distributing critical of the SCPD's policies and practices. I intend to update that flyer in anticipation of upcoming protests regarding largely the same issues, plus some new ones arising from police behavior during the COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" situation and your recent proposals increasing public restrictions in parks and elsewhere generally.
To be fair and accurate, I'm writing you to determine if there's been any improvement you can make me aware of regarding the following issues:

A: Robert, you being critical of SCPD? Say it’s not so! It’s your right and I expect you and others to hold the police accountable.
Please see my answers below.

Q: Is the SCPD willing to "open the books" on "non-lethal force" use, specifically opening for public view police reports detailing the use of these devices with specifics to time, date, location, victim, officer, subsequent injury (if any), rationale, and any subsequent investigation?
A: We comply with all state law on this and the courts are the final judge as to the appropriateness of the use of this force. So the books are open. Some of what you ask for is a violation of law and policy in terms of the person has a right to privacy.

Q: Is the SCPD prepared to make public the police budgets of the last few years and itemize how the funds were spent? If this has already been done, please provide links to where the public can find this information.
A: The links are on the city budget and you are welcomed to search and find them just like any other citizen.

Q: Will you make available records of the last six months, detailing incidents of where more than 4 police officers converged on a "crime scene"? HUFF has received repeated complaints of half a dozen or more police officers arriving at a peaceful encampment or Pacific Ave. scene involving fewer individuals.
A: No. We don’t readily capture that information.

Q: How much "drug enforcement" money is the police receiving, say for the last three years? Very Little, we don’t have a drug enforcement team. What percentage of the SCPD budget goes to drug enforcement? Very little there is no specialized part of the budget for this. If you have any records regarding the number of police incidents involving drug enforcement, please provide them. Do you keep such records? A: No.

Q: Incidentally, HUFF has heard positive reports recently of police helping a few recovering addicts access services. Good work.
A: Thanks that is our preferred method to reduce drug use is by dealing with addiction.

Q: Please specify any military equipment, drone, face & license surveillance technology requested or received in the last three years by the SCPD.
A: None. We have used the Sheriff’s drones on two occasions.

Q: How many police officers actually live within Santa Cruz City?
A: Numerous officers live in and close to SC. I am not sure of the actual numbers. The last we checked there were about 60% within 20 minutes of SC. How many within Santa Cruz County?
Q: Are you still asking City Council to pass your 7 point program, presented to various groups earlier this year?
A: Yes.

Q: Please provide specific records beginning in June 2019 through the present of all arrests made and citations given regarding violations of "closed area", being in a park after dark, violations of the COVID-19 orders of any kind, blocking the sidewalk, public nuisance, or unlawful encampment?
A: You have asked for this numerous times and we have given it to you each time. This takes an incredible amount of time each time you ask. If you want this information again, please submit a CPRA through the formal process.

Q: In order to dampen the "intimidation factor" and assure the public that selective enforcement is not happening, will the SCPD begin to require its officers to document all stops where police officers direct (i.e. warn) members of the public (and most relevantly homeless people) to "move along"?
A: We will comply with the new state law requiring us to capture the perceived sex, race and reasons for the stops per the law.

Q: How many "calls for service" are police responding to regarding complaints about vehicular residents since June 2019?
A: Scores!

Q: I believe the Northern California ACLU has already requested this information from you. Is the SCPD regularly advising those complaining about vehicular residents that false complaints are misdemeanors punishable by fine and jail?
A: They are valid complaints for the most part. Perception of what is and is not a crime is not always straight forward to most.

Q: Is the SCPD (and in particular retired police vigilante Joe Haebe) been direct to stop chalking tires as part of the 72-hour enforcement policy, which violates the 4th amendment according to the Michigan courts?
A: I don’t respond to comments like that Robert. If you want serious answers be a serious person. Joe is not a vigilante but doing a difficult job. Oe has been kind, patient and long suffering. Calling him a vigilante

Q: Will the police department resume reporting race and class stats (i.e. when a person has a 115 Coral St., transient, or homeless designation) on its citation/arrest summaries, as it has refused to do for the last three years? Will it allow access to these records to the general public as required by the Public Records Act?
A: How does one report class? We have provided more information to you than any department in this region.

Q: Please provide a record of all detentions from 1-1-19 to the present including race and class stats, since your 2017 response below indicates you keep such records.
A: We collect and report out race data. What class do you want? How do you define class. What class are you in?

Q: My thanks for any police help (including sandwich distribution) helping homeless people in existing encampments and assistance to those in San Lorenzo Park. The great majority, of course, are in the Pogonip and elsewhere, much of the area within SCPD jurisdiction. Help there including trash pick-up's, portapotty access, washstation availability, electrical charging, and drinkable water is badly needed. Will the SCPD be helping to facilitate this aid?
A: Ask the County to. It is their job! Your efforts are misplaced. As intelligent and educated you are I am shocked it has taken you this long to understand it is the county’s responsibility to provide for the homeless.

Q: Please provide a listing of all white-collar crime citations and/or arrests made in 2019, since you assure us this is a concern of yours.
A: File the proper request.

Q: What particular mutual aid style arrangements has the SCPD made with other agencies, state, federal, county, and private regarding mutual assistance in the event of protest activity or broad citizen resistance (say, to COVID-19 enforcement)? Your prior answer to this was vague.
A: There are no agreements.

Q: Regarding police access to surveillance devices that regularly record lawful community activity, you still have not clarified where these devices are located. Will you make this information publicly available (for instance, around City Hall, or at the SCPD HQ itself)?
A: We have only deployed LPR’s to combat gang shootings.
They have stopped for now.

Q: Thanks for making some of the Sean Arlt documentation available on your Transparency Portal at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/government/city-departments/police/transparency-portal/sean-arlt-ois-investigation .
Does this include all the Arlt video, audio, and witness report documentation?
A: Read it and let me know.

Q: Please clarify what prevents you from revealing the extent of ICE/SCPD disclosure as requested three years ago.
A: I have told you and others numerous times. We do NOT have a relationship with ICE. Period! It’s really frustrating to answer the same questions repeatedly. Because in your mind there has to be a relationship via conspiracy theory does not make it true.

Q: Accurate and timely information on these issues is most helpful in assuring that truthful matter is distributed when concerns are raised about SCPD behavior and policy. I'm sure you appreciate that. Hope to hear from you soon.
A: I am not going to play 1,000 questions and responses with you Robert. If you want a limited amount of time to discuss that is fine, but there are more people than you in this city of 66K who want and need help and information. We average 54 CPRAs per month. It is an enormous amount of work with very limited staff. COVID has not helped and potential furloughs will hurt us further.


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