The Peralta Community College District (PCCD) is on the frontier of providing unarmed safety and support for our students, faculty, staff, and community members.
While there is a nationwide demand for defunding the police, few have followed through on their word, but PCCD is taking the lead by finalizing agreements with community-based safety companies to provide security to the District’s four campuses with over 20,000 students and 3,300 employees. At their regular meeting on Monday, December 14, 2020, the Board of Trustees approved agreements with three new vendors to provide campus safety and security.
“This is a new and exciting step for Peralta as we take the lead in rethinking what it means to provide a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff in a non-oppressive and community-oriented manner,” said Board President Julina Bonilla. "We have shifted resources away from armed Alameda County sheriffs and we are committed to working with local small firms of color from our community."
Bonilla added “while others have talked about defunding the police, PCCD is among the very first to take action in the reallocation of funds to create a safety program reflective of our students and community values.” She said “Peralta is on the frontier of reimagining safety in our community and support for our constituents. We will be effective stewards of our scarce resources in response to community-wide demand for systemic change."
Peralta Community College District's action comes against a backdrop of widespread concern locally and nationally over how law enforcement interacts with African Americans, especially following the murder of George Floyd, a result of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes. The District heard from more than 100 speakers at a June 2020 Board meeting who demanded change away from an armed security service.
The Peralta Community College District is in the process of hiring Community Ready Corps to provide safety at Laney College, Zulu Community Protection to provide security and canine services at Merritt College and College of Alameda. Both are minority owned companies based in Oakland. Marina Security Services of San Francisco, a minority owned company, will provide dispatch services for all four campuses as well as security at the District office. Berkeley City College has an existing contract with A1 Protective Services of San Francisco, an economically disadvantaged woman-owned enterprise owned by a PCCD graduate.
Community Ready Corps and Zulu Community Protection are trained in martial arts and both hire local people of color for their safety teams. They will wear official uniforms but will not be armed.
“We believe these new community-based safety companies will increase college community ownership and pride in our facilities as well as decreasing negative social behaviors such as altercations, vandalism and bullying,” President Bonilla added.
Training for the new security teams begins after board approval of their contracts, and they will officially take over from Alameda County Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 1.