Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


My Photo
Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Monday, September 22, 2008

When will the freeze thaw?

"Are you going to eat my brain?"

---Claire Bennet

"Claire, that's disgusting."


season premiere, Sept. 22.

Another day, another interesting comment about the postings here on Riverside's Community Police Review Commission. From yet another person who complains about the CPRC yet has clearly not even read the city's charter which outlines its powers. The same charter which under 810(d) states that the commission is to "investigate and review" officer-involved deaths, not simply to "review" them. If the commission was simply designed to review these deaths, then the word, "investigate" probably wouldn't be included in the charter language.

Fortunately, there are links in an earlier posting to the language which defines the CPRC's process and purpose and outlines its duties and powers including this page. It's helpful to review those in the face of articles written by elected officials where they try to narrow the scope of the commission's powers and responsibilities assuming that most of the public hasn't a clue about what they voted into the city charter in 2004.

Just because those who drafted the language first in the ordinance and then in the city's charter clearly wish now that they had done it differently doesn't make it so. The fact is, the status quo of investigating these deaths within days of when they took place suited the city council and city attorney just fine for nearly eight years until the lawsuits and resultant settlements began to pile up a bit.

(excerpt, Inland Empire Craigslist)

FBM says from 2000 to 2008 the CPRC investigated officer involved deaths (OID). Investigated being the operative word here, because she claims that they suddenly are not allowed to do so now by the City.

Might it be that the CPRC of 2000 to 2008 "REVIEWED" cases - as they are supposed to. Now certain members of the CPRC see fit to "investigate" such OIDs. Clearly the CPRC was established to REVIEW not INVESTIGATE.

I believe it was said very clearly that the city's government has no intention to impede the duties of the CPRC - as it was established. I'm not a trained investigator, nor do I believe the members of the CPRC are. Trained investigators gather facts that the CPRC are to REVIEW - a fact that FBM seems to fail to recognize time after time after time.

Community Police REVIEW committee. See the "REVIEW". It's not the Community Police INVESTIGATIVE committee. FBM would do a much better service to remember this fact as well as certain members of the committee itself.

Also, what would have been nice is if this individual while showing obvious passion on the subject through his use of capital letters could have gotten the name of the panel right. It's not the "community police review committee", it's called the "community police review commission" and if you don't believe me, look here.

Yes, it's indeed true as stated earlier that from 2001-2008, the CPRC was allowed to begin its investigations within several days of a death incident and not once was it restricted from doing so by the city attorney for violating the city charter and not once was it restricted by the city manager and/or city council from doing so because it was jeopardizing a criminal investigation. Eight years, about 12 officer-involved deaths and not once was this issue ever raised by anyone, certainly not through an opinion piece.

As of now, the commission can't investigate the deaths in any meaningful way if it has to wait months even years to investigate. All it can do at that point later on is "review" and again, if you go back and look at the ordinance and charter language what you will find are the words, "investigate and review".

It was very disingenuous of the three city council members who wrote the opinion piece to omit the word "investigate" and simply leave "review" which is what the author of the comment did. But the city council members took it further and tried to redefine the purpose of the CPRC as simply being a body which only engages in policy review and recommendation which it's clearly not. Is this being done to emulate what LEPAC had represented during the era which preceded the consent decree against the police department? If they use their powers of office to enforce that definition of what the CPRC is rather than what's written into law, then it would be these individuals who are obstructing the proper enforcement of Sec. 810 of the city charter with any actions that may be taken by the city council.

The opinion article does provide a useful road map in case the city council does push restrictions of the CPRC's powers through its direct employees as some people suspect might have already been taking place.

And given that it appears that the city manager's office is making important decisions about the police department, decisions about staffing and supervising issues through allotment of the budget that might have consequences for the department in the long run (as they did a decade ago) not to mention the people that it serves, that produces questions about that office's sudden interest in placing even more restrictions on the CPRC at this point and time. Instead of fretting about what the CPRC has done without incident for nine years, the city council members should write articles about a department that's understaffed to serve a city of this size that's still growing quickly and how it intends to direct its city manager's office to address these issues before serious problems develop in the future. But from the dais for the most part, there's been silence.

Kind of reminiscent of several decades ago.

More discussion on the latest fatal shooting of Fernando Luis Sanchez here including an individual who claimed to be posting Sanchez' criminal record.

No word yet on when the opinion piece which the Riverside City Council must surely be working on right now in connection with the hiring and staffing issues in the Riverside Police Department will be published in the Press Enterprise.

Last week, the police department finally thawed one of its supervisory positions out of deep freeze when it filled the vacancy of outgoing sergeant, Terry Meyer who has retired and also filled the resultant detective position. The detectives have been somewhat spared from the situation involving the freezing of vacancies even as they have been impacted by attrition due to retirements which took place going back into the final months of last year.

According to their current MOU with the city, the detective vacancies are to be filled when vacated, a condition the members of the Riverside Police Officers' Association's supervisory unit of sergeants probably wished they had as part of their current contract. Given that it's more than likely that most if not all of the city's bargaining units will lose items from their contract certainly at the beginning of contract talks, it's not clear how this will all play out next year. Will the sergeants push for a similar MOU and will they as a bargaining unit within the RPOA try to prevent more positions from becoming vacant at their rank? Will they instead face even more vacancies given that several sergeants may retire in 2009? What will be the reaction of City Manager Brad Hudson to any such thing if it takes place and what will be the reaction of the city council who serves him?

Two promotions so far have filled about six or seven supervisory and management vacancies and unfortunately, it doesn't appear as if more of these positions will be filled for an extended period of time. Bad news for a department where the average police officer is about 24 years old and has about 2 1/2 years experience in the field.

Tuesday, Sept. 23 is the day the Riverside City Council meets again.

One of the main events will be the public hearings to be held addressing proposed hikes of the city's sewer rates. This will take place around 3 p.m. in the city council chambers next to City Hall. It's fairly typical to have these meetings when few people can attend to offer their input in person on what they think of the sewer rate changes.

As you've heard recently, the city's residents were told rates needed to go up to replace or repair the ancient sewer system beneath our feet and these rates would compensate for the lack of rate increases in a decade or so. Are the sewers not in great shape? If the raw sewage that erupted from an opening in the street between the Riverside County Office of Education and what used to be Grant Elementary School is any indication, then yes, there may be a problem.

Yet, later we were told that there might actually be a rate decrease at least for local businesses. Will rates go up this year only to elicit complaints when higher utility bills start arriving in people's homes during an election year? Will rates then come up to be discussed again and then temporarily reduced? Will it be the situation involving the ever fluctuating electric rates all over again?

The report on the proposed rate change structure is here.

The city council will also be meeting in closed session to discuss lots of lawsuits including one against Greyhound Bus Lines and another one with Colton.

The city council will also be discussing labor issues involving eight categories of city employees.

Jurors appearing at Riverside County Superior Court are are getting parking tickets.

A Riverside County fire fighter got busted for embezzlement involving over $1 million.

Will the new medical school proposed for the University of California, Riverside be put on hold?

An interesting opinion piece about an attempt to ban a book in Temecula written just a week before National Banned Books Week is commemorated.

A huge jury pay out to the tune of $3.1 million to a Los Angeles Police Department officer who filed a lawsuit alleging the use of racial slurs and retaliation in the department.

(excerpt, Los Angeles Times)

Robert Hill, a 25-year veteran of the department, said he was called a "rat" and moved to an inferior assignment at a less desirable division after he reported that Sgt. Gilbert Curtis used racial slurs -- "wetbacks," for instance -- and made derogatory statements including, "If God loved them, why did he make them black?"

The officer had also raised concerns that Curtis might have been stealing funds from the department's Youth Explorer Program. Curtis, who according to an LAPD roster is Latino, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hill, who is white, alleged in court papers that he was told by superiors to drop the complaint against the sergeant if he wanted to save his job.

Gregory Smith, Hill's attorney, told jurors in the trial that Hill suffered from depression after his superiors "cooked up this scheme" to punish him for violating a "code of silence" that existed within the department.

"His career is over, his friends are gone and his reputation is nothing," Smith said.

Three Columbus, Ohio Police Department officers have been fired over what were called "inappropriate" actions. In one case, one officer had punched another one in the face.

The Fraternal Order of Police is contesting the firings.

(excerpt, Columbus Dispatch)

Sgt. Jim Gilbert, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, said he met yesterday with the union lawyer about appealing each of the three cases.

"We're still evaluating which charges were upheld by the director," Gilbert said. "But we believe we can prevail in front of a third party."

More updates about the status of the local newspapers including the Press Enterprise.

Heroes premiered after an unplanned nine month sabbatical.

Syler's brother is who? Ando vs Hiro and Claire vs Peter in the future? Mohinder getting powers? And what happened to Matt?

Blasphemy but all in good fun. Welcome to Season 3.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older