Race & Equity
Equity Mission Statement: The City of Palo Alto is committed to creating a respectful, fair, and professional workplace and city. We will identify prejudices, eliminate inequities, welcome many perspectives, and use a collaborative approach to create an environment that works for everyone. The City's commitment to achieve equity in Palo Alto is the shared responsibility of our residents, organizations, governments, and other institutions.
The City of Palo Alto adopted the Race & Equity mission statement on November 16, 2020 as part of its discussion of the City’s ongoing Race and Equity efforts. On that same evening, the City Council voted on 16 other actions to advance equity work on a range of topics from use of police data to a community summit on gender equity issues. Notably, the City Council decided to continue this work through the Policy and Services Committee on an ongoing basis.
In 2021, following many discussions through ad hoc committees and Policy and Services discussions, the City Council expanded the Independent Police Auditor (IPA) scope and included several components that were previously reported in summary form in a supplemental cover memo. As of June 2021, the IPA’s scope includes the following for future IPA review and reports:
- Incidents where an officer uses a TASER, baton, chemical agent, less-lethal projectile, canine, firearm, or any other force, resulting in an injury requiring treatment beyond minor medical care in the field;
- The Police Department’s handling of Supervisory Inquiry Reports (formerly called Informal Inquiry Reports) (complaints that are sufficiently investigated and resolved through expedited review); and,
- Review of City investigations of uniformed officers arising from employee complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation by a uniformed officer.
Additional actions taken in 2021 include the development of the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT). This program teams up a police officer with a licensed mental health clinician to provide rapid intervention to a person in mental health crisis. PERT is an important element in furthering the City’s Race and Equity priorities by reinforcing Palo Alto’s commitment to supplementing law enforcement response options.
The City launched its race and equity efforts in June 2020. Previous blogs detail efforts that the City completed between June 2020 and mid July 2020 and in the latter part of 2020. A more recent blog summarizes actions taken in 2021 and early 2022. Additionally, the City engages the Community in many dialogues on this topic including the following:
To share input or feedback on this process, connect with us on social media or email us at RaceandEquity@cityofpaloalto.org.