Peace Center Logo

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events.

Join Us for a “Town Hall” meeting to discuss the Nevada City Police Department’s recent actions

The Community Oversight Task Force will be hosting a “Town Hall” style community meeting at the Madelyn Helling Library on August 27, 2021 from 6-9 p.m.  There will be a discussion over the failure of our Nevada City Police Department to properly respond to the BLM protest of 8/9/20.  Nevada City citizens spend over $500 per person on this police department.  Also to be discussed, should Nevada City continue to finance its own police department which takes up over 50% of the budget?  We will discuss ideas for the reformation of the NCPD to a Community Resource and Safety Department which may more appropriately meet the needs of our town.  We are inviting members of the City Council to attend.  The first meeting takes place at the Madelyn Helling Library on August 27, 2021 from 6-9 p.m. All concerned citizens are invited to attend.  

Here is a letter sent to the NC City Counsel:

Dear Nevada City Council,

With the George Floyd uprisings last year many communities have called for police accountability and reform to ensure against police discrimination and brutality, particularly against black, brown, and indigenous People who are rampantly being targeted, oppressed, jailed and even killed in America every day.   

In our own Nevada City, we have seen August 9, 2020, constitutionally sanctioned Black Lives Matter protestors suffer severe brutality and attack not by police officers, but by members of local hate groups.  While it was not the local police officers who assaulted or abused protestors, there was ample evidence presented that showed the complacency and complicity of the Nevada City Police officers who visibly walked with and supported the “counter-protestors.”  Ample video and testimonial evidence exists that reflects our Nevada City police officers were poorly trained and poorly equipped to handle the situation that day.  

We are the Community Oversight Task Force of Nevada County, a group of concerned citizens who have volunteered to delve into law enforcement standards and practices.  We have taken it upon ourselves to learn California law that governs police, and through the California Public Records Act we have obtained many records.  We have obtained the training records of all present Nevada City police officers and what we have discovered deserves your immediate attention. We have learned, that in fact none of our current officers have received current or updated training in the following pertinent areas:

  • Racial and cultural diversity
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Excessive Use of Force
  • Bias Training
  • Dispute resolution
  • Crowd Control
  • Civil Disobedience training

Anyone who attended the August 9 protest would attest to the complete lack of crowd control or de-escalation methods employed by law enforcement.  The events of that day, that many citizens  watched on social media, depicted angry men who tore banners, signs, and cell phones from protestors’ hands; we watched as they yelled “You don’t belong here;” and we watched as they wrestled protestors to the ground.  Even more disturbing, we watched as police officers appeared to side with and walk beside the counter-protestors.   

Penal Code section 422.6 defines hate crimes and penalties.  That section states “(a) No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States….” Yet that is what we all saw that day.  None of the Nevada City Police (or the Sheriff’s deputies) who were present at the protest saw it necessary to defend the Black Lives Matter protestors rights under First Amendment to the Constitution.

We are concerned with the clear message that was leveled at our community that day.  “Nevada City doesn’t welcome Black Lives Matter protests.”  In fact, there hasn’t been another Black Lives Matter protest in either Nevada City or Grass Valley since that August 9 event.  This matter must be addressed.  Our police officers must get the State Legislative and mandated trainings they are required to have.  Our Police Chief is accountable to ensure the officers are trained, and you, the Nevada City Council are accountable for hiring a police chief that makes sure the officers are properly trained.  

In addition, you should also be aware that since 2018 there have been five new hires on the NCPD – doubling the Police Officer staff – one in 2018, two in 2019, one in 2020, and one in early 2021.  Of those five new hires four had no prior experience, and all had no more education than the basic law enforcement modules.  Some were hired the same month they completed their education.  

It is part of our mission and mandate to expose these significant findings to our community, and they will be made public at the appropriate time.  Meantime, we wish to see that changes are made, and that local police are well trained to serve the community. Some of us who are Nevada City residents wish to be present at the Town Hall you have promised, on improvements to Nevada City Police Department, and whether Nevada City should continue to maintain and pay for its own police force.

Lorraine Reich, Attorney