A call from the statewide Democratic Party to rid itself of political contributions from police unions is filtering down to the local level.
The Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee approved a resolution on Wednesday that calls on elected officials and candidates in this fall election to pledge they will not accept contributions from the Alameda County sheriff and police unions tied to his department.
Those who have previously accepted donations from these unions are encouraged to donate them to social justice causes.
The resolution covers donations since 2018 from police unions that specifically includes the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Alameda County, and Correctional Officer Associations, along with contributions from Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern and other peace officers, according to the resolution.
Instead of returning the contributions, the resolution urges candidates to donate them groups in the county that work on issues such as, “racial justice, criminal justice reform, re-entry services or the empowerment of the Black community, indigenous community and other communities of color,” the resolutions reads.
Furthermore, adherence to the resolution could be contingent on candidates receiving the much sought-after endorsement of the Alameda County Democratic Party.
Candidates this fall will be required to provide documentation of the police union donations, if they have previously received them, in addition, to pledging not to accept the contributions in the future.
The resolution underscores the deep distrust many progressives in the county hold toward Ahern and the sheriff’s department.
In the past, they have slammed Ahern for his handling of inmates at the Santa Rita Jail amid a number of deaths at the county prison, his expansion of the department’s ranks, and militarization over the years of his department and others local police department’s in the county, among other simmering issues.
There is already a number of signs in several East Bay political races that the issue of candidates accepting political contributions, not just from the sherrif’s department, but Police Officer Associations in individual cities, is likely to be a major campaign theme this November.