October 2023 Meeting SummaryOctober 5th, 2023 PAB Meeting Summary
Observed by Deborah Rice Gordon
A recording of this meeting can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP8GKq82DRE
The minutes from the September 7th Board meeting were approved.
Interim Executive Director Sherry Walker-Cowart gave the staff report:
- Open attorney and deputy director positions have been posted on the website. Other positions including professional development training director, part time web master, and language access coordinator are anticipated. Community engagement manager and specialist postings have closed, and numerous applications have been received and are under review.
- Elizabeth Beltran, Director of Investigations gave an update. When PAB first was established, several incidents occurring many years prior were reported. Some issues have arisen in handling these and more recent cases.
- A process for reaching out and explaining the statute of limitations has been implemented. Cases can be re-opened if the statute has not been exceeded. If a request for information has been sent to RPD however, it freezes the timeline, and the investigation can proceed. However, RPD is responding that the statute has expired in those cases.
- The downloading of body worn camera footage to PAB is also in dispute. A judge has decided that footage can not be downloaded if it involves an active criminal case due to concerns that it could be leaked to the public, although this is in opposition to the Charter. The Board noted that such leaks have not originated with PAB, but rather with RPD and the city’s human resources department. PAB has everything in place to handle footage securely. The judge has canceled several meetings with PAB to discuss the issue. If the footage is for an active criminal case, it cannot be released until the suspect has been arraigned. The final training and certification.
- In some requests, RPD has denied having GPS information, however, the use of GPS has been discussed with members during drive along and other training. These external roadblocks are prohibiting the Board from proceeding with its work.
- Delores Ivey-Paige, Director of Case Management, updated the Board. For the fiscal year 2022-2023, 360 reports were received and of those, 266 were related to police misconduct, 15 involved policy and oversight and 51 were not related to RPD and were referred to other jurisdictions. A total of 60 reports were received from July through September. Typically, reports are received by phone call or on-line submission. Submissions can also be made in person. Complainants are notified of their case’s status.
- De’Jon Hall, Director of Policy and Oversight, gave an update to the Board. An analysis of the comments received on the Right to Know draft policy has been completed and distributed to the Board. In addition, a draft comment on RPD’s Drafting General Order 68O Protest and Mass Demonstration Response are being written. It is hoped that the resulting proposal for change will be ready soon.
- An update on Public Affairs and Community Engagement was given by Sherry Walker-Cowart. Responding to media inquiries and working to identify a new office space if the current lease is not re-negotiated in the Spring are part of the team’s work.
- The East District Board seat is still vacant and significantly late in being filled. Anyone living in the sector who is interested is encouraged to apply.
- Over a year ago, Members of the staff stated their interest in forming a union. The Board supported this and is calling on the city to recognize the staff and determine which union they will be in and move that process forward.
- A hearing will be held on October 18th at the Court of Appeals concerning PAB’s disciplinary power as described in the Charter. Arguments will be heard but a decision will not be made at that time.
- Since most of the Board is new this year, there is a good deal of training that needs to be scheduled. Getting the Training Coordinator position filled is important so that that training can be scheduled and tracked.
- A call for proposals for a permanent Executive Director of Operations is close to being finalized.
- The proposal for change on PAB’s draft Right to Know policy was discussed section by section and edits were requested by the Board. Once finalized, the proposal will be sent to the Mayor, RPD and City Council.
- In the case of voluntary consent searches, PAB is seeking to require that body worn cameras be used for obtaining the consent and that clear and easily understandable language be used when seeking that consent. Foreign language access shall also be available.
- Identification of police officers – recommending that officers carry physical business cards or electronic cards that can be given to people they interact with.
- Identification should be available in multiple languages by some means (e.g., QR code).
An Executive session was called to discuss specific legal action that the Board may take. During the session, one vote was taken to authorize legal action on behalf of PAB. The meeting was adjourned afterward.