How to Place Pressure
Step 1. Figure out who’s the boss and who’s the boss’ boss.
A good place to start is by searching on Google for who’s in charge of your county sheriff’s department. Search “[Your County] Organizational Chart”. For example, when we searched for Guilford County Organizational Chart, we found this. This tells us that in Guilford County, N.C., the County Sheriff (the boss) answers to the Guilford County Citizens (the boss’ boss).
You can then search for “[Your City] Organizational Chart”. This will help you find out who is in charge of your city or metropolitan police department. For example, when searching for “Greensboro Organizational Chart”, we find this. This tells us that the Greensboro police answer to the Assistant City Manager who answers to the City Manager who answers to the Greensboro City Council. This gives us a lot of different bosses we can put pressure on.
Step 2. Figure out which of the officials you identified in Step 1 are elected.
Elected officials care about what their voters think, especially when a lot of their voters voice the same concerns. Officials are most likely to listen to concerned citizens that live in their district. So, if I want to call the Greensboro City Council to express my concern, my call will mean more if I target the member of the council that is in charge of my district. To help me do that, I searched for Greensboro City Council District Map and found this. Voicing your concerns will be more effective if a lot of other other voters in your district raise the same concerns and ask for the same solutions. But how do you know what to say and what to ask for?
Step 3. Brainstorm what you are going to ask for.
Using a short script can help you prepare what you want to say. See the sample script below:
“Hi, my name is ___ and I am [calling or writing] as [a voter in your district or a member of the community you serve].” “I’m calling because _________[briefly state your issue]. This issue is very important to me because _______________ [personal stories are great here].” “I urge you to __________ [state what action you want them to take].” "If you are leaving a message… “Please return my call at ____________. If I do not hear from you within a couple of days, I will give you a call to follow-up.” "Thanks for your time and attention today."
What actions should you ask for?”
Your efforts will be more effective if others are asking for the same actions that you are asking for. Unsure what reforms to ask for? Once you decide what reforms you would like to support, share them with friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. You can also check with advocacy groups that represent people that have been affected by the problem to see what they are proposing. The following are some resources with suggestions: https://www.aclu.org/other/fighting-police-abuse-community-action-manual https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision http://durhambeyondpolicing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Durham-Beyond-Policing-Budget-Proposal-2019-2020.pdf
Step 4. Make contact.
You can make contact with any of the bosses that you identified in Step 1 in a variety of ways.
Call. Then Call Back. Then Call Back Again
Find the boss’ phone numbers. Use Google to search for the names of the officials that hold the offices you identified in Step 1 and search for the phone numbers to their offices. When you call, you will probably not get to speak with the official directly, but you may get to speak with someone who works with them (like a staffer or), or you will be prompted to leave a voicemail. (Why their office phone numbers and not their email addresses? It is a lot harder to ignore a phone that is ringing non-stop than it is to ignore emails. However, you can feel free to send an email along with your phone call.)
Tell Others to Call with You. Organize a group of like-minded individuals and all agree to call a certain local official on the same day. Ask for a response and meaningful action. If you do not get a response, schedule another “Call In” day.
If you don’t hear back, call again.
Attend Local Police Department Meetings, or City Council Meetings ESPECIALLY if they are discussing Police Budgets
Many of these council meetings are going virtual. To find out when your next local council meetings are scheduled search for them on the internet (Search: “[City name] council meeting schedule”). For example, here is the Greensboro City Council Meeting Schedule. This website provides a quick overview on how to prepare to make a public comment at a city council meeting.
Social Media Storm
Remember that group of like-minded individuals that participated in your Call-In Day? Ask them to participate in a Social Media Storm, where you all mention/tag the local official in tweets/posts sharing how _____ has affected you and your family and ask for action.