The recent listening session that took place between the parents of Jacob Bauer — a 38-year-old man who died in police custody while experiencing a mental health crisis — and Pleasanton Chief David Swing was one step in the direction of accountability.

John and Rose Bauer reported after the meeting that the chief compassionately and sincerely listened to their concerns about the practices within the Pleasanton Police Department (PPD). Both sides deserve recognition for coming together and having a respectful conversation after the tragic end of a young life.

During the listening session, Jacob’s parents brought up the point that PPD has not implemented one of its own policies — Policy 419 on crisis intervention incidents, found on page 352 of the PPD policy manual, https://bit.ly/Indy_PPDpolicies. They further called for the department to include the Police Executive Research Forum’s (PERF) “30 Guiding Principles for Use of Force” (https://bit.ly/Indy_PoliceForce) in the updated policing policy set to go before the council on Tuesday next week. According to the family’s attorney, the chief also agreed with some of the principles.

PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler wrote in the guidance’s introduction that we need to challenge conventional thinking on police use of force. In support of positive police reform, residents of Pleasanton can speak up at the city’s next council meeting, Sept. 21.

As Wexler states, “The preservation of life has always been at the heart of American policing. Refocusing on that core ideal has never been more important than it is right now.”