Formation of Community Relations Committee
- Ordinance No. 39-2020 and Ordinance No. 55-2020 – ENACTING CHAPTER 160 – COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE RELATIVE TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE, AND APPOINTING MEMBERS TO THE COMMITTEE
- Resolution No. 16-2019 – COMMUNITY RELATIONS ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE
Creation of the Community Relations Committee evolved from a desire by many residents to advance Upper Arlington as a place that is welcoming, cohesive and inclusive. The process began in 2019 with two workshops and an online survey. In the fall of 2019, Council formed a temporary committee to develop a framework for next steps. In early December, the temporary committee recommended that Council form the Community Relations Committee. In March of 2020, the temporary committee reported back to City Council with a recommended structure, proposed goals and next steps. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, formation of the Community Relations Committee was delayed until the fall of 2020.
Ordinance No. 50-2021 – AN ORDINANCE REVISING THE UPPER ARLINGTON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE: In the summer of 2021, City Council unanimously approved Ordinance No. 50-2021, to update the City’s anti-discrimination ordinance, bringing it in line with changes in state and federal law, clarifying that a protection for a class recognized under the legislation applies in all contexts, and establishing a process for impacted parties to seek redress for damages caused by unlawful discriminatory practices.
Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis
Resolution No. 7-2020 – CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF UPPER ARLINGTON DECLARES RACISM AS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
In the summer of 2020, City Council unanimously approved Resolution No. 7-2020 declaring racism a public health crisis, in response to the death of George Floyd and other African American and minority community members, and other events that have highlighted the negative impacts of structural racism on minority populations. Actions emerging from this Resolution include:
- A commitment from City Council and the Administration to learn more about the impacts of systemic racism in order to identify and address any inequities at the City;
- A commitment to build trust between the Upper Arlington Police Division and African American and other minority and underrepresented groups;
- Creation of an annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report detailing enhancements to the City’s hiring, contracting and law enforcement actions.
Housed in the City Manager’s Office, the City’s Human Resources Division is committed to administering and advancing the City’s recruitment, hiring, retention and training practices in an equitable manner. Since the formation of the Community Relations Committee and with input from a subcommittee focused on internal operations, the following initiatives have been addressed or are in process:
- Candidate Screening Adjustments – In an effort to minimize the possible influence of implicit bias when screening candidates for possible employment with the City, personal information is removed from candidates’ applications during the initial assessment process.
- Employment Webpage – The Employment webpage enhancements include creation of a welcome message that explicitly states the City’s hiring goals relative to diversity, equity and inclusion. A series of recruitment videos were recently completed.
The City is working to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion practices into its procurement and contracting procedures. While formal updates to the City’s Procurement Code are pending, steps are already being taken to this end, for example:
- Upper Arlington Community Center – a Request for Proposal seeking a Construction Manager firm for the Upper Arlington Community Center requires a good faith effort to maximize the participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), and/or Women Business Enterprise firm
The Upper Arlington Police Division has been making great strides in its efforts to meet the safety needs of everyone it serves, recognizing that the division serves a much larger community than just those who live here. Enhanced access to data through the Northwest Regional Emergency Communication Center (NRECC) emphasizes the extent of the division’s interactions with and impact on the residents of neighboring communities who work here and travel through Upper Arlington every day.
Some steps taken by the Police Division to enhance service include:
- Creation of a crime analyst position that analyzes contacts with the public looking for trends that can help reduce crime and improve service
- Creation of a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Unit, with a mission to build relationships with everyone served.
- Development of a Community Policing training module that will be offered to community members and civic groups.
- Enhanced reporting to the community via the Police Division Annual Report and an annual Bias-Based Policing Review document.
- Criminal Diversion Program for first-time offenders
- Traffic Diversion Program
- Drug Court Program
- Upper Arlington Mayor’s Court contracts with an interpreter service for defendants with limited or no English-speaking capabilities.
Since joining the City in the fall of 2020, City Attorney Darren Shulman has adjusted some Upper Arlington Mayor’s Court processes, making them less punitive and helping defendants correct an issue (such as an expired driver’s license) to have their case dismissed. This includes:
- A contract with public defenders to cover any case in Mayor’s Court, not just those eligible based on the charge and their income status
- Changes to the bond schedule include no longer stacking bonds for multiple charges emerging from one case; a reduction in the bond amounts
- No longer issuing warrants for non-jailable offenses (other tools are now used in place of this practice, such as placing registration blocks on licenses)