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Campaign Zero

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Campaign Zero is a police reform campaign proposed by activists associated with Black Lives Matter, on a website that was launched on August 21, 2015. The plan consists of ten proposals, all of which are aimed at reducing police violence. The campaign's planning team includes Brittany Packnett, Samuel Sinyangwe, DeRay Mckesson, and Johnetta Elzie. The activists who produced the proposals did so in response to critics who asked them to make specific policy proposals. Many of the policies it recommends are already in place as best practice policies of existing police departments. Some of these include the Milwaukee policing survey and the PRIDE act.



Since its inception, Campaign Zero has collected and proposed policy solutions for police reform in ten areas: These 10 major policy solutions are ending broken windows policing, encouraging community oversight, limiting the use of force, independent investigation and prosecution, community representation, filming the police, training, ending for profit policing, demilitarization, and fair police union contracts.

Policy Solutions

End broken windows policing has 3 major components:

  1. Decriminalizing or de-prioritizing the minor crimes used to victimize African-Americans - A few of these include consumption of alcohol on the street, possession of marijuana, loitering, and disturbing the peace.
  2. Ending profiling and stop and frisk policies - Campaign Zero aims to establish enforceable protections from profiling people based on any social, economic, or physical status. A few of these protections include ending predatory police practices, such as stopping someone for matching a general suspect description or furtive movements.
  3. Establishing alternative approaches to mental health crises - In an attempt to prevent police violence that occurs due to a suspect experiencing a mental health issue, Campaign Zero wants mental health to be a key component in policing. Some changes include a response team that have mental health professionals such as social workers and crisis counselors, that these professionals have a role in the planning and implementation of the response to crises, and mandating at least 40 hours of crisis intervention training for police officers.

Community Oversight has 2 major components:

  1. Establishing effective civilian oversight structures - This policy would establish an all-civilian oversight structure that would include a Police Commission and a Civilian Complaints Office. The Police Commission would determine policy based on community input, share policy in a easy to access, discipline offending officers or police leadership, hold public disciplinary hearings, select police chief candidates, and be completely unattached to anyone in the "police culture". The Civilian Complaints Office would, resolve civilian complaints in a timely manner, increase accessibility of means to file complaints, swiftly respond to police shootings, recommend discipline to the police chief, investigate the chief for corruption, and be separate from anyone in the "police culture".
  2. Removing barriers to report police misconduct - Officers would be required to give civilians their name, badge number, reason for stopping them and instructions for filing a complaint to the Civilian Complaints Office.

Limit Use of Force has 4 major components:

  1. Establishing standards and reporting of police use of deadly force - This policy would mandate deadly force be used only if there is an imminent threat to the officer's or someone else's life and the force is unavoidable. The actions of the officer prior to the deadly force must be considered to determine if it was justifiable. Additionally, the officer must give a warning and time to respond to said warning, police must report killings or serious injury of civilians, and the name of officers and victims involved in the deadly force must be released to the public within 72 hours.
  2. Revising local police force policies - Officers would be restricted to use deadly force unless all reasonable alternatives were used, minimal force, deescalation, and less lethal weapons. Additionally, force is banned as a tool to punish insubordination and running away, excessive force bans such as choke-holds and hog-tying, encouraging officers to hold their partners responsible for excessive force and first aid kits being made available to assist suspects.
  3. Ending traffic-related police killings and high-speed chases - Officers would be forbidden to shoot at moving vehicles, blocking a moving vehicle, and engage in high-speed chases with non-violent suspects.
  4. Monitoring police force and increased accountability - All uses of force must be cataloged, and detailed with injuries and demographics. Additionally, officers who are at risk to commit excessive force will be subject to an early intervention program to re-train and monitor these officers. Police departments will be compelled to notify the state of an officer who violates policy or the law and this information must be available in a public database. These officers will be prohibited from serving as public servants in the future

Independent Investigations and Prosecutions has 4 major components:

  1. Lowering the standard of proof in civil rights cases against police - This policy would allow federal prosecutors to prosecute an officer for violating section 242 of the US Code of Laws without needing them to "willfully" deprive a person of their rights.
  2. Funding for independent investigations and prosecutions - Legislation needs to be passed to set aside funding or use existing funds to encourage independent investigations and prosecution of police killings.
  3. Establishing a permanent State Prosecutor Office for police violence - This office would be responsible for any improper police killings or violence, which required proper funding, and would choose it's Chief Prosecutor from community chosen candidates.
  4. Mandating individual investigations for all police killings or serious injuries - The investigators must also be authorized to prosecute all such cases, investigate all cases where officers kill chosen at random from the largest agencies in the state, and must report all findings publicly

Community Representation has 2 major components:

  1. Proportional representation of officers in their communities - Police departments must develop and report a strategy and timeline for achieving proportional representation of women and people of color, via outreach, recruitment and departmental changes.
  2. Considering community feedback - Police departments must also survey the community regularly to review community perception and police policy. This will be used for reforming practices, evaluating officers and incentives for good police work.

Filming The Police has 2 major components:

  1. Body cameras - Police officers would be required to wear body cams and have dashboard cams. all police interactions would be recorded unless the suspect requests to remain anonymous. Additionally citizens have the right to have footage released to the public and saved for a minimum of 2 years. If footage is requested through a FOIA and the police denies it, they must defend themselves before a court. footage that hasn't been requested must be deleted after 6 months, and footage may not be used by officers for reports or statements and may not be used for facial recognition.
  2. Right to record police - Officers would be forbidden from taking recording devices without a warrant or consent from the person. People can sue police if their item is confiscated or destroyed .

Training has 2 major components:

  1. Training must be rigorous and sustained - Officers must undergo scenario-based training regularly influenced by the community at large. This training should focus on biases, de-escalation, how to engage with those who are socially, financially, and physically different, and non-violent conflict resolution.
  2. Training must consider implicit racial bias - Current and future officers must test their racial bias including a shoot/don't shoot decision-making test. This must be repeated in certification, department hiring process, evaluations, and job assignments.

End Policing For Profit has 4 major components:

  1. Police Department Quotas - Police departments would be forbidden from using arrest and ticket quotas to evaluate officers
  2. Limit fines and fees for low-income citizens - fines and arrest warrants may not be issued to civilians who don't go to court for a traffic citation. Furthermore, fines may not generate more than 10% of municipal funds. Judges may waive fines or provide payment plans. correctional fees would not be allowed to be charged to individuals on parole.
  3. Property Seizure - The police must be forbidden from seizing property unless the individual was convicted and the police can produce evidence for the seizure. Furthermore, property that was forfeited must be funneled into a general fund and individual police stations must participate in the Equitable Sharing program.
  4. Police pay misconduct fines - As opposed to the city paying for misconduct charges, the funds must come from the police's budget, if the police go over budget on lawsuits they are forbidden from accessing the general fund.

Demilitarization has 2 major components:

  1. Ending the federal government's 1033 Program - The federal government supplies military weaponry to local police departments, Campaign Zero wants to end this policy.
  2. Local restrictions on military weapons for police - Police departments should not use federal grant money to buy military equipment including drones, armored vehicles, and Stingray surveillance. Additionally SWAT must be reserved for emergencies, no-knock raids cannot be used without probable cause, and federal funds for weapons suspended for discriminatory policing.

Fair Police Contracts has 3 major components:

  1. Removing barriers to misconduct investigations and civilian oversight - Reform the Law Enforcement Officers' Bills of Rights laws that protect officers for 48 hours before incident investigation, pursuing other misconduct uncovered by initial investigation, protecting the identity of an offending officer, prevention of civilian interrogation of officers, the police chief's monopoly on discipline, protection of an officer for a violation after 100 days and the exclusion of lie detector tests for officers.
  2. Public disciplinary history - Remove provisions of the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights that destroy records of past misconduct and prevent the release of these records through a FOIA request.
  3. Financial Accountability - Campaign Zero wants officers who are suspected of committing a felony or is involved with a police shooting to be unable to receive paid leave or paid desk duty. Additionally, if an officer is suspending without pay they would not be allowed to use vacation or personal days to pay themselves during a suspension.


Arriving on the heels of protests in Ferguson, New York, Baltimore, and elsewhere over cases of civilians being killed by police officers, Campaign Zero in August 2015 was launched as a "data-driven platform" with the goal of ending police brutality. The same team had created the project four months prior, which tracked and mapped incidents of police violence.

In November 2015, the campaign released its first research report, which examined the use of body cameras in police forces in 30 cities and the fairness, transparency, privacy, and accountability associated with body camera policies. Data about the policies of 17 cities is maintained on a live spreadsheet.

In December 2015, the campaign released a second report, a review of police union contracts in 81 cities, along with an associated campaign called "Check the Police" that seeks to mobilize activists to pursue changes in such contracts. The report examined ways in which union contracts delay interrogations, allow officer personnel files to be erased, disqualify complaints, and limit civilian oversight. An actively updated database of contracts and analysis is maintained by the campaign online. In June 2016, the campaign continued its work on police union contracts with the release of its third report, "Police Union Contracts and Police Bill of Rights Analysis." This report focused on use of force policies and evaluated protections in those policies for civilians.


Because many of the policies Campaign Zero recommends are already in place in some police departments, Slate contributor Ben Mathis-Lilley has said that with the launch of its site, Campaign Zero "is saying to mainstream politicians: Here are some products that have been sold before—now do your job." Harold Pollack has stated that the document in which the campaign announced its proposals is "a very useful and professional document", and that certain proposals it made, such as increasing police diversity and reducing the use of monetary punishments to raise revenue, seemed "particularly smart."

On January 19, 2016, it was ranked as one of 20 tech insiders defining the 2016 United States presidential election by the staff of Wired.


Campaign Zero Wikipedia

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