To Mayor Reuben D. Holober, Vice Mayor Ann Schneider, Councilmember Anne Oliva, Councilmember Gina Papan, and Councilmember Wayne Lee,
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I am a resident of Millbrae. This past week, our nation and community have been gripped by protests calling for an end to racism and anti-Blackness and a complete overhaul in our approach to criminal justice in America. I am demanding real change be made to the way this city allocates its resources.
Given the agreement to closure of the Millbrae Sheriff's Office and contract with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, it is your responsibility to advocate for change within the SMCSO, an institution that continues to perpetuate systemic racism. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office's recommended budget for FY 2020-2021 calls for a $10.6 million dollar increase . This comes during a year when Millbrae's spending is "projected to reach $32.1 million in the upcoming budget, despite cutting spending in the Department of Public Works from $10.4 million in the current fiscal year to $4.5 million in FY 2020-21" .
There is not just a need for police reform, but police defunding, because the underlying culture of the police force is built upon racism and inequity. According to the results of a 2015 survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, the average police recruit spends 58 hours learning how to shoot and only 8 hours learning how to de-escalate. They are not trained or equipped to react to the vast majority of crises. Phillip McHarris, a doctoral candidate focusing on race, argues that we must work towards a reality in which healthcare workers and emergency response teams handle substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, and mental health cases. Policies to “improve the police” are not enough, as there is no evidence that implicit bias training or community relations initiatives help with reducing the abuses of policing . We need to re-imagine public safety to prioritize alternatives to conflict rather than defaulting to violence.
I demand the City Council to immediately freeze budget increases to the Millbrae Police Bureau, demilitarize our forces, and reallocate funds from police to behavioral health crisis response and community-led health and safety initiatives. Research shows that a living wage, access to holistic health services and treatment, educational opportunity, and stable housing are far more successful at reducing crime than police or prisons .
It is your duty to represent your constituents. I am urging you to support defunding the police for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, so that we can invest more in social programs and resources. We can be a beacon for other cities to follow if only we have the courage to change.
Thank you for your time,
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]
 San Mateo County FY 2020-21 Recommended Budget - https://cmo.smcgov.org/sites/cmo.smcgov.org/files/documents/files/FY%202020-21%20Recommended%20Budget_0.pdf
 San Mateo Daily Journal - https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/millbrae-eyes-budget-blow/article_5ea64608-a3b3-11ea-8596-ab4ff9270a49.html
 Urban Institute - https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/100705/learning_to_build_police-community_trust_3.pdf
 Center for Popular Democracy - https://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Freedom%20To%20Thrive%2C%20Higher%20Res%20Version.pdf