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VOICES: Here is where Dayton’s city manager says she stands on police reform, Black Lives

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein talks after a recent city commission meeting. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein talks after a recent city commission meeting. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Note from Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson: Jared Grandy, Dayton’s former community-police coordinator, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein “should be present and receptive to the calls of the people” when it comes to police reform in a guest column that appeared on the Dayton Daily News’ Ideas and Voices page Wednesday, June 24. 

Grandy, a Dayton native, resigned from his job of more than three years on May 30, expressing frustration with police leadership.

Here is Dickstein’s response to Grandy’s commentary:

Mr. Grandy’s letter poses a fair question.

How can the community expect review and possible change if they are not certain of where the city manager stands?

Let me begin by unequivocally affirming that Black Lives Matter and we must embrace this historic human rights movement to end systemic racial injustices.

We must reflect on ourselves, challenge behaviors within our circles of influence and commit to the long-term work that will truly create freedom for our Black brothers and sisters throughout our nation.

In Dayton, our mayor and city commissioners have presented a five-point plan as a starting structure. They have thoughtfully created working groups rich with diversity of thought and community representation.

In coordination I have instituted the framework and informed city staff of how we will support and actively participate in this important work.

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As the policy work advances from these working groups, rest assured, the mayor and commission will hold me accountable for implementing any and all changes.

To be clear, I do not believe it is inconsistent to support our police chief and police department while holding a heart-felt desire to see police reform and an end to systemic racism.

I welcome this opportunity to review our work with the community and identify areas where we can become even better; where we can serve our community more equitably and justly; where we can re-establish a strong social contract between community and police.

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Real reform is hard work and I am committed to getting it done and done well.

I stand ready, along with my diverse and capable leadership team, to work together with our Mayor, City Commission and community to create the changes for a better Dayton.

Shelley Dickstein is Dayton’s city manager.

The city of Dayton’s police reform plan calls for:

  • Increased transparency when reporting suspected police misconduct and strengthening the Citizen Appeal Boards.
  • Assess all recent incidences in which force was used by Dayton police to look for patterns and biases, which will inform a review of use of force policies.
  • Continue implicit bias and deescalation training for Dayton officers.
  • Review police recruitment and hiring processes to better identify potential issues in new officers and increase diversity.
  • Deepen community engagement by rank and file officers to strengthen relationships.