I’ve refrained from making a comment about the Bias/Discrimination/Hate portal until I could attempt to get several logistical questions answered. Those questions were:
- Why was this a consideration in the first place?
- Have there been instances where residents felt as though something happened but didn’t feel comfortable going directly to the police?
- Who/what department would be receiving this information that would then be forwarded to the police department? Why wouldn’t it go directly there in the first place?
- What policy(ies) exist around this reporting tool?
- What procedures are in place to ensure misinformation isn’t being acted upon?
In searching out this information, Matt Richardson did reach out to me to let me know that he was going to use me in part of “testing the portal”. While I would have preferred to not be the example, the reality is that I know I can’t prevent anyone from doing this (which created another issue in itself). Seeing that several days later, the only way I knew something was reported with my name attached to it was only due to Matt’s Letter to the Editor several days later.
Here is where I’ve personally landed on this portal decision:
- The need or justification for this hasn’t been identified. Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.
- I’m concerned about the execution of it. Not having the “why” frontloaded, rationalized or explained creates more questions than answers.
- The process for using the portal would not allay the fears or concerns of someone making a submission in the best of circumstances. To submit but not receive an automated message or tracking number feels as though the complaint goes into a black hole of sorts. For many persons of color or any minority/marginalized group, that contributes to not wanting to report anything in the first place: the feeling of not being heard or taken seriously.
- I’m concerned that if the report is indeed being forwarded to the EPD, what makes someone outside of the EPD authorized to receive potentially confidential information to then determine its validity?
- “Information provided here is of public record.” What happens if someone decides to abuse this process, creating issues for the person being reported against? What’s to keep an organized group from submitting several incidents about a person that are untrue or part of misinformation yet is now part of a public record? Based on Matt Richardson’s “experiment”, I’m now named in a reported incident on a public record.
I hope that until a well-explained, justified and executed portal for this information can be done, that it should no longer be in existence. It will do more harm than as is.
Candidate, Edmonds City Council, Position 1