Earlier this month, a subcommittee of the Berkeley City Council voted to recommend sitting out the Urban Shield SWAT competition and vendor show in 2018, while supporting fire, EMT and emergency manager participation and evaluating Berkeley’s role in the reconstituted exercise next year.

The recommendation is expected to come before the City Council at its July 24, 2018 meeting.

Unfortunately, questions have been raised regarding the Council’s legal authority to direct the BPD not to participate in Urban Shield. At this time, the Mayor is awaiting a legal opinion from the City Attorney.

What you can do:

1) Email Mayor Arreguin at mayor@cityofberkeley.info and urge him to affirm the authority of the City Council, and his own office, in this matter and all matters of policy in Berkeley. Urge him to stand firm for our shared progressive values.

2) Email your support for the motion to the Berkeley City Council at council@cityofberkeley.info. Here is a sample email:

“Dear City Council Members,

I support the Urban Shield Subcommittee motion on Berkeley’s participation in 2018 Urban Shield. After a year of research and discussion in public meetings, this motion correctly addresses the concerns of all Berkeley residents. It continues Berkeley Fire Department, emergency response staff and volunteer participation in training at Urban Shield 2018 focused on response to those mass disasters most likely to affect Berkeley: wildfires, earthquakes, hazardous material releases and the need to shelter in place. It suspends Berkeley’s participation in the 2018 SWAT scenarios and vendor show, which promote racism, xenophobia and the militarization of our police force. It allows for reevaluation of Berkeley’s participation in 2019, by which time the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will have developed a reconstituted emergency prevention and response training. I urge you to vote to support this recommendation when it comes before the Council.”

3) Mark Tuesday, July 24th on your calendar NOW to be sure to attend the City Council meeting where the subcommittee’s motion will be voted upon.

4) Share this information with all your friends and neighbors and encourage them to email and show up at the Tuesday, July 24th City Council Meeting.