March 2, 2023 PAB Meeting SummaryMarch 2, 2023 PAB Meeting Summary
Observed by Deborah Rice Gordon
A recording of this meeting can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUVgzsMz-Ko. Be advised that the sound quality is poor at times.
Interim Executive Director Sherry Walker-Cowart gave the staff report:
- Staff training is on-going in several subject areas. Job postings have been created for the positions of Deputy Chief of Investigations and Language Services Coordinator.
- The 2023-2024 budget was prepared in February.
- A report of on-going investigations was distributed to the Board prior to the meeting. The Board briefly discussed some areas of the report before voting on the disposition of several cases which were listed by numerical identifiers. Larry Knox made a motion to omit three of the cases since the Board needed more time for their review. The motion passed.
- Ms. Walker-Cowart was asked about the timeline for completing the investigation phase of cases so that they could be reviewed by Board panels. Although March was the original goal for completing that work, the witness interview process is still being developed. Changes in legal staffing contributed to the delay.
- The Policy and Oversight team formulated a vision for their organization and a policy agenda. Several issues were discussed by the Board including the lack of community outreach workers creating a stumbling block for some of this work. The vision will be shared with the community pending the development of a means to do that and community input will be considered. A motion to approve the policy agenda as the first step in this process was approved.
- The need to fill the vacated Board seats as being integral to the success of the PAB was discussed. Filling outreach positions is also a critical need. In conversations with City Council members, it seems that they are looking to develop a process for filling future PAB seats. The process used by the city to post job openings and vet applicants is very time-consuming. However, since the immediate need is urgent, the three open seats should be filled as soon as possible.
- Staff has access to body-worn camera images and is working on a policy to download that footage securely.
- The disciplinary matrix is being reviewed by the city police department. They will provide comments, but do not have approval power. Staff is working with the police department to clarify their position and input.
- Larry Knox gave the training committee report. Training is proceeding with several sessions planned for the future. In consideration of the large number of training sessions to be completed and the demands of hearing and discussing cases, Larry Knox proposed public Board meetings be reduced from twice a month to once a month. This would free up time that could be used for training or case- work. This option was discussed but not voted upon.
The meeting was adjourned following a discussion of staff challenges and morale.