Daily Camera (Boulder)
Applications open for master plan subcommittee
Boulder is searching for two people to serve with Mayor Pro Tem Bob Yates and Councilmember Junie Joseph on the Boulder Police Department’s master plan process subcommittee.
Rather than helping the department develop its master plan, committee members instead will play a role in developing the master planning process and working to engage the public and ensure the community understands how the planning process works.
“The whole community, as well as City Council, (are) going to get an opportunity to give input into master plan content and how those priorities are developed,” Wendy Schwartz said. “This particular subcommittee is focused on process.”
Schwartz, who works in Boulder’s housing and human services department, is serving as the Boulder Police Department master plan project manager.
She said the city hopes to attract diverse voices and that any person with experience in developing processes could be an asset. Schwartz called it a twoway information stream, meaning the committee members will be discussing the processes as a group but then also must go out into the community and share what’s been discussed.
“We want them to be advising the city on the right way to engage people in the community, and at the same time, we want them to be able to talk to people in the community about the master plan processes and how they can plug in and give input,” she said.
The Boulder Police Department’s master plan was last updated in 2013, and Schwartz said it’s due for an update.
According to earlier reporting by the Camera, the city’s overhaul of its local police oversight system began last year after a confrontation between a now-former Boulder police officer and Zayd Atkinson, a Black Naropa University student who was picking up trash outside his student housing. The officer, John Smyly, repeatedly asked Atkinson for proof of his residency at the building. When Atkinson refused and continued to pick up rubbish with a metal tool, Smyly called for backup, told Atkinson he was obstructing a police officer and pulled his stun gun and handgun. The incident, captured on widely circulated video, made local and national headlines for weeks.
Smyly was found to have violated department policy and resigned with a city severance package, although an independent review found no evidence of racial profiling. Atkinson later reached a $125,000 settlement with the city.
Incidents such as this one in Boulder and George Floyd’s death in Minnesota have continued a nationwide push for police oversight and reform.
“There’s changes just in the world of policing, and there’s also obviously a lot of changes with local and national concern about police reform,” Schwartz said. ‘It’s really a good time to have an in-depth examination of the community needs and how the police department resources are being utilized.”
Sarah Huntley, spokesperson for the city, agreed with Schwartz.
“I think the future of policing is an important issue to a lot of community members and recent events certainly make it all the
more important,” she said.
“We want to make sure that we’re getting a diverse set of voices and perspectives so that the police department can be meeting the needs of the whole community,” Huntley added.
The city asks those who wish to apply for the subcommittee to answer the following questions:
•Why do you want to be on the Police Master Plan
•Which community groups and populations do you have relationships with and how would you act as an ambassador to those groups to help them engage with the Police Department Master Plan process?
•What particular/special expertise or experience would you bring to the Police Master Plan Process Subcommittee?
•Would you be available during the scheduled Police Master Plan Process Subcommittee meetings on the second Thursday of each month from 2 to 3 p.m.?
Those who are interested should email answers to Bpdprocesssubcommittee @bouldercolorado.gov by 5 p.m. Oct. 22. Applications will be discussed in the subcommittee meeting on Nov. 5 and again in the Nov. 10 Boulder City Council meeting.