The Bakersfield Police Department-Community Collaborative (BPD-CC) was set to present its recommendations for the Bakersfield Police Department before the city council at Wednesday’s meeting; however it was taken off agenda just hours before the meeting.
Christian Clegg, Bakersfield City manager, asked for it to be taken off the agenda to allow more time to look over the material provided by the collaborative. Members of the collaborative said they will present their recommendations in April.
“I’m okay with that because I’d rather folks have time to fully absorb the recommendations and everyone truly be on the same page moving forward rather than anyone feeling like the process was rushed,” said Traco Matthews, a member of the collaborative.
The BPD-CC was put in place to help build trust between the police department and the community by giving recommendations regarding police reform.
The collaborative was proposed by Bakersfield city council member Andre Gonzales after Black Lives Matter protests took to the streets during the summer of 2020 regarding the murder of George Floyd.
The collaborative launched officially in September and is made up of a core working group of community members dedicated to change within their community.
“The theme of the work is building trust — restoring, rebuilding, and strengthening trust with law enforcement and the community,” said Matthews. “The community has an obligation to make sure we’re engaged and involved in that process of not just rebuilding trust but sustaining it.”
Matthews feels it is important for the community to remain active in the community to get the work done.
“The accountability that we may want to see from BPD or any law enforcement agency — as long as we’re engaged then there’s a good chance that it will happen and if we disengage then there is a good chance it won’t,” said Mathews.
The material provided for Wednesday’s meeting included recommendations for the city council to go over. The collaborative has decided not to give any exact details of the recommendations until the council has had time to fully read over them.
The delay of the agenda has not changed anything regarding the plans of the BPD-CC.
“We’re still committed to the work,” said Matthews showing a continued sense of hope. “In this case, I believe that the delay will be temporary. We’re still committed to getting this done. The accountability will not stop.”
Featured Photo by photojournalist Henry Barrios for Kern Sol News