Antioch Police Chief issues statement to the community regarding officers under investigation

Commits to more transparency, Public Safety Network with DOJ, has formed Community Engagement Unit, will host open house, signed 30×30 Pledge to achieve 30% women police recruits by 2030

Interim Antioch Police Chief Dr. Steve Ford. Source: APD

By Allen D. Payton

Following reports of more Antioch Police officers under investigation and on paid leave for alleged offensive texts, and this morning’s press conference by Mayor Lamar Thorpe on the matter, Antioch Police Chief Steve Ford issued a statement, late Thursday afternoon, March 30, 2023, outlining ways his department will respond.

“Chief Steven A. Ford’s Open Letter to the Antioch Community.

I write this letter to acknowledge the recent series of events pertaining to our members. Admittedly this is a very unfortunate situation, however I urge that our members’ due process be respected, and they are not tried in the court of public opinion. Important to note, as an organization we always strive to be of service and engage in fair and impartial policing practices.

Moving forward we will continue to be responsive to the community, be intentional about being accessible, and will adhere to procedural justice centered policing plans and strategies. We have recently instituted many new policies, procedures, and best practices which support our premise of transparency and consistency, and we look forward to serving this great community.

One of the things we’re most proud of is our current engagement with Public Safety Partnerships through the Department of Justice. This plan will codify what we’re calling our “Public Safety Network” whereby we will partner with a host of internal and external community-based resources to anchor a city-wide approach to public safety.

In support of these efforts, our Community Engagement Unit (CEU) was established. The mission of the CEU is to prioritize the principles of 21st century policing models by developing meaningful partnerships with our community. The CEU will listen to the community, foster new relationships, and strengthen old ones.

In the coming weeks we have many plans and programs forthcoming, one of which is an APD Open House. This will be publicized shortly, and we look forward to seeing our city residents and visitors present and engaging with our members.

Additionally, we have signed on to the 30×30 Pledge – a focused effort to improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement. The 30×30 Initiative helps policing agencies assess the current state of a department regarding gender equity, identify factors that may be driving any disparities and develop and implement strategies and solutions to eliminate barriers and advance women in policing. These actions address recruitment, assessment, hiring, retention, promotion, and agency culture.”

30×30 Pledge & Initiative

According to the website, the 30×30 Pledge and Initiative is focused on “Advancing Women in Policing, 30% Women Recruits by 2030”. The website points out, “Currently, women make up only 12% of sworn officers and 3% of police leadership in the U.S.”

The Pledge includes three phases. Phase 1 which is targeted for completion in the first six months includes collecting baseline data and Immediate Action Items:

  1. Formally make hiring, retaining, and promoting qualified women a strategic priority for your agency through public statements and internal orders, and include improving gender diversity in your mission statement, strategic plan, and/or other public documentation of agency priorities.
  2. Affirm zero tolerance for discriminatory practices or harassment, particularly with regard to demographics such as gender and gender identity, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
  3. Ensure there is a designated space for nursing mothers who have returned to work after giving birth to express breast milk (pump) as needed. This space must be private and sanitary (e.g., not the women’s bathroom or a cruiser). Provide dedicated refrigeration space for storing breast milk. Include seating, cleaning supplies, and all other requirements for making the space appropriate and workable, such as working electrical outlets.
  4. Allow nursing mothers—especially those on patrol—flexibility in their schedules to accommodate expressing breast milk in designated space.
  5. Ensure all equipment for women officers is appropriate and fit to the officer’s proportions (e.g., uniforms, firearms, ballistic-resistant vests).

Phase 2 is targeted to be completed in 12 to 24 months and includes collecting Diagnostic Data and Demographics. With all data collection related to individual demographics, agencies should aim to capture gender, race/ethnicity, and age, if possible. This phase includes Hiring, Promotion, Retention & Culture and Recruitment.

Phase 3 is Planning and should begin 6 months from pledge signing with development of a Strategic Plan to Advance Women in Policing. The final version is due 24 months from pledge signing.

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APD Chief Ford statement to community 03-30-23

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