Council to Formalize New Police Oversight Process

Interim Police Auditor Mike Gennaco delivers his report in April

After a lengthy public outreach process earlier this year, back on June 12, Mayor Robb Davis along with Councilmember Lucas Frerichs proposed a dual police oversight structure which included a revised and enhanced Independent Police Auditor (IPA) position and the creation of a Davis Police Accountability Commission (DPAC).

This comes nearly a year after the former Police Auditor, Bob Aaronson, who served the city from 2006 until 2017, did not renew his contract.  The concurrent occurrence of the Picnic Day incident contributed to community push for a new system.

After a series of outreach sessions by consultants Barbara Attard of Accountability Associates and Kathryn Olson of Change Integration Consulting, the council subcommittee acted on their recommendations.  By a 4-0-1 vote, “the Council directed staff to return to the Council with a resolution to include the specifics necessary to create the DPAC and an updated scope for the IPA.”

The city is going through a hiring process for the IPA.  The scope has been updated and expanded from the previous scope created in 2006.  The city plans to recruit through NACOLE (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement) with a budget of $60,000 (which is the same as the current budget), with a stipulation that if additional funding is needed, staff will return to council.

The council will set the DPAC to nine.  Previously, “The Council requested language to ensure that members are diverse and that at least two members have had interactions with the Police Department. The proposed language is broad, to allow the Council to appoint the strongest combination of commissioners possible to achieve the goals of the commission.”

There is additional diversity language: “Appointment of commissioners shall reflect a diverse representation of the community and include members of various ethnicities, racial backgrounds, sexual orientations, economic status, etc. Additionally a minimum of two members appointed by council shall have demonstrated previous interactions with the Davis Police Department.”

Council is looking into the possibility of providing stipends for commissioners.

The specific language for the IPA is as follows:

  1. Review Davis Police Department (DPD) Misconduct Complaints
  • Receive notice of all complaints, classification and assigned investigator.
  • Receive complaints directly and refer them to the police department for investigation.
  • Receive real time updates on investigations for monitoring and to coordinate interviews, if needed.
  • At the discretion of the IPA, attend interviews of complainants, public witnesses, and sworn officers, asking questions directly (civilians) or through the lead investigator (police personnel).
  • Have full access to completed complaint investigation files; all evidence related to the issue, reports (as allowed by state law), analysis, proposed findings, and any proposed discipline.
  • Provide evaluations as to whether an investigation is complete, thorough, and objective; an explanation if more investigation or a change in finding is recommended.
  • Document any recommendations on policy, procedures, or training growing out of a complaint investigation.
  • If an external investigator is used, provide input into the scope of work of the investigator, and offer assistance in the selection of the investigator.
  • Work with the DPD and DPAC to promote Alternative Conflict Resolution ACR/mediation as a complaint resolution option.
  1. Audit Davis Police Department Misconduct Complaint and Discipline Process
  • The IPA will have access to the DPD complaint database and regularly assess issues such as the nature of complaints, how complaints are classified, and whether investigation timelines are met.
  • The IPA will have access to DPD personnel and discipline records and will assess the discipline system for fairness and appropriate levels of discipline.

Some important additions:

  1. Produce Reports
  • Publish written reports in conjunction with the DPAC, at least on an annual basis, to include information about: misconduct complaint investigations and trends; recommendations concerning improvements to DPD policy, procedures, or training; results of audits; and joint projects with the DPAC, including outreach.
  1. Conduct Independent Investigations
  • In cases in which the IPA deems an investigation insufficient or the DPD does not open an investigation, and recommendations for additional investigation are not heeded, after written notification to and concurrence from the City Manager and the City Attorney, the IPA may conduct additional or an independent investigation. The DPD will provide full access to all materials concerning the incident underlying the complaint and all relevant personnel.
  1. Assess the Work of the DPAC
  • Provide annual written input to the City Manager on the effectiveness of the DPAC.

The functions of the commission include:

  • Develop Community Outreach Plan
  • Provide Input to Audit Davis Police Department Policies, Procedures, and Training
  • Recommend Changes/Improvements to Policy, Procedure, or Training
  • Review Independent Police Auditor Reports on Misconduct Complaints
  • Provide Input into Reports
  • Assess the work of the Independent Police Auditor
  • When time permits, respond to Davis Police Department requests for input on matters outside Independent Police Auditor/Commission priorities, such as commenting on new programs.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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