Community Control Over Police FAQ


Why community control over police (CCOP)?
We can’t trust elites’ promises to abolish or defund police: policing and incarceration are big business and managed by Democrats and Republicans. State violence has no opposition party. We have to focus on getting the power to make these decisions ourselves.

I’m an abolitionist. Should I support CCOP?
Yes! CCOP is the best position from which to achieve abolition. Each policing district would hold a vote to decide what to do with its current police department, immediately giving the community the direct voting power to abolish, restructure, downsize, or otherwise reconstruct their departments.

I don’t want to control a racist, sexist and corrupt police department.
Neither do we. CCOP does not give us control over the existing police, it creates a brand new force whose jurisdiction is the agreed upon security district and that is controlled by the all civilian Community Police Control Board (CPCB).

Does CCOP mean keeping the police?
No. It means the community decides whether the police department is abolished or not. A civilian board would only control departments in places that do not vote to abolish them altogether.

I believe in defunding the police. Should I support CCOP?
Yes. Defunding police, by itself, will make the problem smaller but leaves the basic political structure intact. The same elites who defund the police budget this year will be in charge of deciding it next year - putting long term victory at risk.

Under CCOP, who will control the police budget?
We will! In the best case, community control over police would come packaged with a broader commitment to community control, in which case we’d manage the whole local budget in a way similar to how we manage police. But even under CCOP by itself, it would be within the boards’ power to run the operation at any scale below the upper bound of their budget allocation. An abolitionist civilian board could, then, effectively nullify even a pro-police militarization budget from an ideologically opposed city council.

Where did CCOP come from?
The Black Panther Party put forth a proposal in 1970 for community control of the police.

They worked to get this proposal on the ballot in San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, and Berkeley via ballot initiative, and held a major Community Control of the Police Conference in Chicago in 1973, featuring speeches from Fannie Lou Hamer and Bobby Rush. The proposal was on the 1970 ballot in Berkeley, CA and Milwaukee, WI, but lost due to national opposition against the proposal.

How does CCOP work? 
Each policing district would hold a vote to decide what to do with its current police department: allowing direct voting power on whether to abolish their police department, downsize it, or otherwise reconstruct their departments. In districts where the department structure is retained, two civilian boards would have direct control - not influence - meaning the power to hire and fire, set priorities. They’d be staffed by sortition (random selection, as juries are selected).