Six Midpeninsula cities collaborate with Stanford on policing research to inform local policy decisions
In the wake of George Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, and the shooting of Breonna Taylor in her home by Louisville police earlier this year, Bay Area residents called for reinvigorated conversations about police reform in their local communities, and cities responded with resolutions and value statements committing to racial justice and equity.
In response to these calls for change, local jurisdictions collaborated with Stanford to pursue research on policing reform and best practices. Conducted through the Bill Lane Center's City Manager's Initiative, the research is part of a larger effort by Stanford’s new Office of Community Engagement (OCE) to harness the expertise and resources of units across the university and apply them to mutual challenges faced by our region.
The concepts of identity and place are central to the American West. For many in the West, local government shapes how individuals and communities interact and grow. From bicycle paths to clean drinking water, local government is responsible for most services that residents see and touch. The Center works to train the next generation of leaders in the American West through student research opportunities, executive education and our City Managers Initiative.
Launched in 2013, the Bill Lane Center's City Managers Initiative convenes local government executives from Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties with Stanford experts to address pressing regional challenges and solutions, ranging from water resource management to transportation and mobility solutions. The initiative's steering committee is comprised of the city managers from Daly City, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Redwood City.
Since 2015, the City Managers Initiative has been focused on tackling regional congestion in Silicon Valley. Together with Stanford University and Joint Venture Silicon Valley, the cities of Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Redwood City have established the Managers Mobility Partnership — a historic agreement pledging to work together on the transportation challenges facing these communities.
City managers, with support from the Bill Lane Center and the Office of Community Engagement, have also been convening to explore policing alternatives. Lane Center researchers have conducted literature reviews of policing models and shared the results with local leaders, who will use the information to inform policy decisions.
Opportunities to Explore Local Government
Each year, Stanford University offers dozens of courses related to local government across many disciplines. Such courses have highlighted the powerful role local politics can play in creating just, equitable and sustainable cities, and have given students a new understanding of the immediate impact they can have on their communities by engaging in policymaking at the local and regional level. Some Lane Center alumni have even gone on to pursue meaningful careers in local government.
We are fortunate to have Dan Rich serve as the Lane Center's local government advisor. With over 30 years of public sector experience, including 27 years in local government management in the Bay Area, Rich has served as the city manager of both Campbell and Mountain View, where he remained until his retirement at the end of 2019.
This partnership emerged from the Bill Lane Center's City Managers Initiative. Working as the academic partner to Stanford's neighboring cities, the Center seeks to advance the study of connectivity across the West's broad landscapes.