Get Involved: Attend a Council Meeting

It is our goal to maintain a consistent, significant presence of activists who believe that Black lives matter and that it's time to Defund the Police at all Dearborn City Council meetings, with emphasis on the meetings leading up to the passage of Dearborn’s new charter. City Council meetings occur regularly. For the 2020 Council meeting schedule visit Dearborn's city council website. In response to COVID-19, meetings may be moved online.

Meeting Logistics

  • The agenda portion comes first, and then public comments are invited -- plan to make your comments during the public comments section.

  • Every speaker has three minutes, the Council President will stop you at the three minute mark.

  • You will be asked to state your name and address for the record.

  • Council members can respond to your statement, ask clarifying questions, and challenge your statement. This portion may or may not be contained by your allotted three minutes, or it may be extended beyond the three minute timeframe. This procedure has been inconsistently applied at meetings.

Making your Statement Effective

  • To prepare to speak, consider reviewing the legislative and historic contexts of Dearborn Police Department.

  • Keep in mind our goal at this meeting: making it legal to defund the police and to weaken the police department’s influence in our city. This can mean:

    • Diminishing the trust that City Council has for the PD

    • Sustaining pressure on City Council through to the new charter passage

    • Identifying and pressing for alternative routes to defunding

  • Keep it focused and prioritize --

    • You only have three minutes. You may not be able to hit all the points you want to cover.

    • Focus on quality over quantity. Your goal is to be heard, not make sure every fact is said.

    • Save the excess points to share at the next meeting.

  • Example statement types that appear effective:

    • Personal stories/experiences

      1. Negative experiences with Dearborn PD

      2. Positive experiences with first responders who were not police, in situations that would have otherwise been under the purview of the police

    • Specific concerns about Dearborn PD’s operations with supporting evidence

    • Mission/vision statements -- providing a framework for what kind of future you imagine for Dearborn

  • Bring it back to the situation in Dearborn.

    • There is a lot of information about reasons why policing fails communities. It’s important to tie these statements back to the situation in Dearborn. Our City Councilors view our police force as the exception, placing the burden of proof on us to show that these trends apply in Dearborn. Any national statistics should be connected to local statistics.

    • Visit the External Research page to find ways that national trends connect to local policing procedures.

  • Practice your statement until you are comfortable and confident with it

Common Rebuttals from City Councilors

Dearborn City Councilors often express:

  • That they view funding the police department below the levels of this charter is in breach of what they are legally permitted to do.

  • They view funding the police department at the current levels to be carrying out the will of Dearborn’s electorate.

  • Policing in Dearborn is the best in the country, exemplary, and the model that other departments should aspire to.

  • That “we do not want to use too broad a brush” when discussing police officer misconduct

  • That they are not in a position to judge the outcomes of Prosecutor Worthy’s investigation of Janet Wilson and Kevin Matthews’ deaths at the hands of Dearborn police officers

12 1 2020 Meeting 1 slide guide