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

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Why the CPRC hardly ever meets and why it's violating the city charter...this time

People in Riverside like the new grade separation underpass on Jurupa, the first to be completed.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Now it's a lot safer for our kids," said Chris Hubbell as he and his wife unloaded groceries outside their home on William Street.

Kathleen Hubbell said she gets more sleep now that locomotives no longer blow horns in the middle of the night to warn motorists.

City Councilman William "Rusty" Bailey said the $28.2 million project also eliminated a railroad crossing at Mountain View, a block from Jurupa. Now, motorists and pedestrians can no longer use the street to get across the tracks, making the area safer for children walking to school, he said.

The Jurupa Avenue underpass is the first Riverside railroad crossing project to be completed in about a decade.

Three more are expected to be finished by early 2012, and another three are in early planning and environmental review stages, said Farshid Mohammadi, the city's railroad projects manager.

The next to open will be a Columbia Avenue overpass under construction at the BNSF Railway tracks near Hunter Park.

Some people have asked me why the Community Police Review Commission hardly meets anymore. Actually since they just cut down their meetings from two to one each month and skipped a couple months altogether, it just seems that way. Chair Sheri Corral's reasons for cutting meetings back is because the commission takes too long to do its business and it's caught up with its workload. Not surprising considering the dismal attendance records that she and Vice-Chair Peter Hubbard had for months just up until several meetings before the elections, where their platform got in by one teleconference vote cast from somewhere in Florida.

Even as its review of complaints is backlogged, much like the situation with the police department's internal affairs division. But never fear, one internal affairs sergeant said that they've never had any problems with complaints running over their statutory limits since he first started working there which was at least six months ago. In the meantime, the average time it took complaints to reach the CPRC in March was 470 days for category one and 336 days for category two. Several months later, they averaged over 300 days to reach the CPRC.

If nobody's complaining about it in the department, perhaps it's like the case with incustody death investigations meaning that it's all adjudicated and done with by the department and perhaps the city manager's office before the complaints even reach the CPRC. But lieutenant turnover aside, the internal affairs division has grappled with its own issues including an abrupt relocation from its cushy offices in the Riverside Plaza to the more under-luxurious digs in the downtown bus terminal, right next to a field patrol substation. A decision brought to you courtesy of the city manager's office. Not to mention a tremendous backlog in its own investigations that's been going on for a while now.

Not that it matters much because if you read this year's biennial report, you will find that the police department, CPRC and city manager's office agree on their respective findings on allegations over 99% of the time. In fact, in some categories, it's 100% agreement, which smells a little bit like collusion between the three bodies behind closed doors to me. It's not unlikely there would be a majority agreement, even a strong majority agreement between them, but 99-100%? Yeah right.

Especially since the percentage of disagreement has been declining over the past several years to reach this point at the same time the appointments to the CPRC have become much more politicized. Remember too, all allegation findings are done by majority vote, minority votes don't count unless they write a minority report which no doubt winds up in the circular file of sorts when it's received (or received, reviewed and filed as the city calls it) and some crazy rumor has it, even when the officer did it, often times he or she will be exonerated because they didn't lie about it to investigators. If one more person asks me about this, it's been floating around out there for quite a while.

It's hard to believe this rumor given the virtually 100% agreement beween the three bodies on allegations against officers, because given that, if the CPRC was engaging in this practice, that would mean that the other two entities would be as well. And that would be a hard sell for the police department because the last thing it would want is to get in trouble with an outside agency again over its practices so it's probably more mindful now of keeping on the straight and narrow particularly involving its complaint process, which was heavily scrutinized and checked by the State Attorney's General's office earlier this decade.

But veracity aside, it makes you wonder, is telling the truth something that commissioners feel officers need to be rewarded for doing? Do they not think it happens often enough? Sounds like a fairly cynical view of law enforcement to me. Truth telling should just be accepted as a matter of course and as a requirement for doing the job, not something to reward an officer for as you would a child with a cookie for being good. And most officers probably do tell the truth to the investigators but if it's true that the commissioners reward truth tellers by essentially exonerating their misconduct, then it seems like the commissioners who engage in this believe otherwise?

No word on when the Ward Two vacancy created by Jim Ward's retirement will be filled or even at this point, whether it will be filled. Which means that at least there aren't as many tie votes as there were when Ward Four commissioner, Linda Soubirous resigned and the city council rushed t fill her spot with Robert Slawsby, who endorsed Councilman Frank Schiavone a short time later and is rumored to be tight with Schiavone campaign consultant, Brian Floyd. Ward Two Councilman Andrew Melendrez said that when he's approached people about putting in applications to serve on it, they say, no way because of the dynamic of the commission and a prospective applicant attended the meeting, watched their antics and decided he wasn't a glutton for punishment. He found the commission highly dysfunctional and seemingly answering only to City Hall.

Maybe they're just waiting for the term to expire next March before allowing Ward Two to have a representative and this my friends, is a violation of the city charter which mandates that each board and commission have a representative from each ward.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself, is the city's charter just a piece of paper with writing on it?

Moreno Valley's city manager is being investigated in Upland in connection with allegedly using a computer in harassment of an ex-girlfriend.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Upland police are investigating whether Moreno Valley City Manager Robert Gutierrez illegally accessed computer records to make harassing phone calls to an ex-girlfriend, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police in Upland, where the ex-girlfriend lives, searched Gutierrez's office at Moreno Valley City Hall as well as his home and vehicles on May 27 for evidence in the investigation, according to a copy of the search warrant return filed last week in San Bernardino County Superior Court. They took computers, cell phones, computer files, thumb drives and disks.

Gutierrez declined to comment Wednesday.

He has worked for Moreno Valley for 3 ½ years. He lives with his wife in La Verne, west of Rancho Cucamonga.

Investigators are expected to submit the case this week to the San Bernardino County district attorney's office for review and possible filing of charges, police spokesman Sgt. Cliff Mathews said by phone Wednesday.

The Press Enterprise Editorial Board is highly critical of Riverside County's decision to dip into its reserve funds.


The construction boom that powered local revenues through most of this decade vanished along with real estate equity and easy credit. The total assessed value of property in Riverside County has plunged by nearly 11 percent from 2008 levels, a loss to the county of about $54 million in revenue. Property taxes contribute 45 percent of the county's discretionary revenue, and it may be years before property values return to previous levels.

Riverside County cannot keep using reserves to plug budget holes without quickly draining its savings account. The county budget proposal initially envisioned using only $20 million in reserves and making cuts in every county department. But supervisors padded that amount, primarily to ease cutbacks in the sheriff's department, district attorney's office and fire department.

Supervisors cannot continue that strategy for very long without risking catastrophe. The board will have to make hard decisions next year about spending priorities -- and then stick with them, instead of draining reserves to avoid painful choices.

The Riverside County Grand Jury has released its report about the Riverside County Fire Department.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Riverside County should consider forming its own fire department in the future instead of contracting with the state, which plans to hike administrative fees this year, a new county grand jury report says.

Fire officials should also do more to discipline career firefighters who create a hostile work environment for their volunteer colleagues and to address conflict between the two groups, the grand jury said.

The report, released last week, makes 10 recommendations for cutting costs and reducing strife in the Riverside County Fire Department. The department relies on about 1,000 Cal Fire firefighters and personnel to protect the county and 18 contract cities. Cal Fire employees help train and work side-by-side with about 700 volunteer firefighters.

County Fire Chief John Hawkins, a state employee, declined to comment on the report Wednesday. He said his department is following standard procedure and formulating an official response to the grand jury. The response will be reviewed by the county executive office and Board of Supervisors and issued by Sept. 28.

At a May supervisors meeting, Hawkins said an anticipated increase in this year's administrative fees is not Cal Fire's fault. The higher cost reflects an increase in the fees that the state Department of Finance charges Cal Fire, he said.

Redlands is rethinking its budget plans in recent days.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The vote to draft alternative cost-saving plans came as a result of a supplement to the agenda submitted by Councilman Jerry Bean, outlining his ideas for shaving $2.5 million from the budget. Bean has been critical of the idea of the joint powers authority between the city and the Redevelopment Agency to use lease payments for general fund expenses.

Bean has called the move illegal at worst and unfair to water and sewer customers at best. Residents approved the increases in water and sewer rates with the belief that the money was needed for pipeline repairs and improvements, he said.

Bean's suggestions for cuts included instituting employee furloughs on holidays, scratching a plan to hire five additional police officers and not filling the positions of most employees who took early retirement.

When told that the furloughs would have to be negotiated, Bean said that shouldn't be a deterrent to asking employees to take unpaid holidays.

"It was to prove that even though some might disagree with the cuts, it is possible to balance the budget by whittling away at various departments," Bean said.

At times, exchanges between Bean and Aguilar grew testy. Bean said he came up with the plan after Aguilar prodded him for alternatives.

After the city council in Atlanta subpoened its police department to release records on several o of its cases including the fatal shooting of Kathryn Johnston, the police union sued them.

The police department said that the records in question were not subjected to the public records acts.

(excerpt, Sunday Paper)

The APD released the following statement at 6:11 p.m. today:

"The Atlanta Police Department has released information relating to the Kathryn Johnston case to Council Member Felicia Moore pursuant to the June 15, 2009 subpoena on today July 7, 2009. Council Member Felecia Moore will forward all received documents to the Citizens Review Board accordingly. The Department has released this information pursuant to a subpoena which was applied for by the Citizen Review Board pursuant to City Ordinance and was issued by the Atlanta City Council's Committee on Council accordingly.

Despite the release of this information to the Committee on Council and to the Citizen Review Board (which are both entities within City of Atlanta Government) pursuant to subpoena, the documents remain part of an open internal investigation of the Atlanta Police Department, and thus are not subject to disclosure under the Open Records Act."

A judge who heard the case the police union brought against the city decided to allow for the release of the records to the Citizen Review Board.

(excerpt, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The union’s lawyer, David Beall, said the judge should order the return of the documents, which he said should not be turned over until after the APD completes its internal investigation of the officers.

“The release of these documents could jeopardize the integrity of the investigation and the officers’ rights,” Beall said. “The DA’s office is still investigating this and there may be criminal charges brought.”

Shoob was unpersuaded and questioned why the police department had not conducted its internal investigation in cases that were as old as three years.


Tuesday, July 14 afternoon and 6:30 p.m. Riverside City Council and Redevelopment Agency meeting (and the meetings begin their bimonthly schedule)

Wednesday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. Community Police Review Commission, fifth floor large conference room at City Hall

Upcoming political fund raisers:

Tuesday, July 14 at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mayor Ron Loveridge at the Mission Inn Hotel. $500 per person.

Tuesday, July 21, at 6-10 p.m. Paul Davis Debt Retirement fundraiser Contact

Thursday, July 30, at 5:30-7:30 p.m. Art Gage for Mayor at Victoria Country Club, Fax to (951) 686-5070, $99 a person

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older