When we first met with Toledo city officials to discuss safety it was the summer of 2017, and it had just been announced that Toledo would partner with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on an anti-violent crime initiative. Less crime, less violence – what could be bad about that? But this is a DOJ that has signaled its support for the use of dragnet style policing, aggressive enforcement of drug laws, and targeting of vulnerable groups – all of which make our communities more dangerous. We knew it was bad news.
We continued to sound the alarm to Toledo officials, but they had already – under the table and without input from residents – agreed to the deal. So we did what Toledo officials wouldn't. We talked with Toledo residents and asked them what they need to feel safe in their city. An attendee at our May 2018 community forum said: “We are the experts of our neighborhoods.” We agree.
Bring these recommendations with you when you meet with your City Council member, community group, or police officer, and urge them to commit to adopting these recommendations.
In the months of collecting feedback via forums, meetings, canvasses, and surveys, two main themes arose. First, that residents will never feel safe if they fear unfair treatment from their government based on who they are. And, at the same time, that ensuring safety is much bigger than what police officers do or don’t do. While police use of force and racial profiling came up very often, so did discussions of the services and opportunities residents want to see in their neighborhoods.
We are proud to announce that today we sent Toledo officials a set of recommendations for advancing safety for all Toledoans. These recommendations provide tangible steps the City of Toledo can take to work toward safety for all residents, regardless of their identity.
We could not have done this without you. Please join us in calling on Toledo to adopt these recommendations. There can be no safety without justice.