In the wake of George Floyd’s killing and numerous police shootings of unarmed residents, public agencies across the nation are re-examining policing and public safety amidst public demands for reform, restructuring and racial justice. Recognizing this urgent need, RPLG has formed a multi-disciplinary Public Safety Reform & Innovations Practice Group to serve as a resource for public agencies navigating this complicated and urgent issue.

“Few doubt the need for police reform and new approaches to public safety, but converting the public’s interest in reform into concrete changes that can be practically implemented is a challenge for public agencies,” said Founding Partner Jon Holtzman. “For example, there’s widespread agreement that there are more effective resources to respond to mental health and homelessness calls. However, multidisciplinary responses to these issues can pose logistical and economic challenges. RPLG’s attorneys and consultants bring a broad range of experience and perspectives to help our clients work through these challenges.”

RPLG advised the Fresno Commission on Police Reform.

RPLG has taken on a variety of roles in police and public safety reform efforts. The firm has been retained to help craft and defend police reform ballot measures, including the City of Berkeley’s Measure II, which passed with over 80 percent of the vote in the November 2020 election. In addition, RPLG served as special counsel for the Fresno Commission on Police Reform, helping produce a 292-page report with recommendations for policy changes, and is providing legal and technical support to the City of Berkeley’s “Police Re-Imagining” process.  RPLG has been asked to revise use-of-force policies, facilitate blue-ribbon committees, develop oversight models, negotiate and defend changes in policies, and work with public and community stakeholders to develop innovative approaches in this rapidly-changing field.

The RPLG team brings deep knowledge and a wide range of experience to the Police Reform Practice Group’s work. RPLG attorneys are available to help agencies navigate rapidly-changing state laws and implement local rules to effectuate the goals of these laws. On police reform matters, the team’s extensive work in labor negotiations helps guide negotiations with police unions; we can advise on use of force policies (including standards related to de-escalation and proportionality), discipline systems, police culture, qualified immunity, and other aspects of police department operations.  Attorneys are prepared to help gather input from all relevant stakeholders and design civilian oversight mechanisms to meet the competing needs of speed, transparency and fairness.

In assisting clients in efforts to improve their approaches to public safety, we bring to bear our extensive experience in public finance, administrative restructuring, civil service systems, and all aspects of local government law.   We also offer non-attorney policy expertise through our consulting group RPLG.Solutions, and lobbying services at the state level through our policy arm, Renne Public Policy Group.  Our attorneys and consultants are available to assist with internal affairs investigations or to audit internal investigations.

Our team’s experience:

Louise_Renne

RPLG Chair Louise Renne served as President of the San Francisco Police Commission and is actively involved in numerous matters on behalf of community-based organizations that represent the City’s Black residents.

Jonathan Holtzman

Founding Partner Jon Holtzman is a veteran of innumerable negotiations with police unions over wages, hours and departmental policies, including numerous police reform initiatives. He recently served as Special Counsel to the Fresno Commission on Police Reform.

Arthur Hartinger

Founding Partner Art Hartinger is an expert in police disciplinary matters.

Ruth Bond

Partner Ruth Bond represented San Francisco’s Fire and Police departments in employment matters as a San Francisco Deputy City Attorney for more than a decade.

Jamal H. Anderson

Senior Associate Jamal Anderson served as a Deputy District Attorney in San Mateo County for six years, where he worked closely with law enforcement agencies. Previously, he worked for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and as Federal Affairs Advisor to former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Julian Gross

Partner Julian Gross has extensive experience on police and public safety reform issues, having advised reform advocates while employed by PolicyLink, a national non-profit advocacy organization devoted to racial and economic equity.

Linda Ross

Partner Linda Ross served as general counsel to the San Francisco Police Department during her time in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.

Bruce-Rudd_WEB

Former Fresno City Manager Bruce Rudd, a firm senior consultant, is available to help manage and structure police reform efforts.

For more information on how RPLG can help your agency improve public safety and navigate police reform, please contact:

Jon Holtzman