Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Two proposals compete for police watchdog group

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 11:48 AM

Council President Richard Skorman: Overseeing formation of a police watchdog group. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Council President Richard Skorman: Overseeing formation of a police watchdog group.

On June 23, City Council adopted an ordinance on first reading that establishes a Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission (LETAC).

The LETAC's purpose is "to advise and recommend areas and topics of study related to police operations, best practices, and resource allocation, solicit public input, and promote improved relationships between the citizens and the Police Department."

Specifically, the panel will be tasked with:
• Assisting City Council with budget, appropriation, and resource allocation recommendations utilizing data-driven audits of law enforcement performance;
• Providing a conduit to share the concerns and needs of both citizens and the Police Department;
• Analyzing and providing feedback to Council with policy recommendations, and
• Promoting improved understanding and relationships between the Police Department and the public.

The 11-member commission must include at least one member from each of six Council districts and live in the city.

About 600 people have applied. Deadline for applying is 5 p.m. on July 1. To apply:

————————-ORIGINAL POST 12:11 P.M. MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2020————————-

When City Council takes up creating a new police accountability committee, members will be looking at two proposals. One came from a group that traveled to Austin, Texas, earlier this year to attend a conference on such matters. The other emerged from a grassroots effort that's been endorsed by a wide range of people.

The former, labeled President's Commission on Police Transparency and Accountability (PCPTA), defines its purpose as:
PURPOSE: This Commission will research and recommend "Best Practices,” procedure changes, new regulations or policy shifts for the Colorado Springs Police Department to the City Council, the Mayor and Police Chief. President Skorman will also bring this work to the El Paso County Commissioners and El Paso County Sheriff’s Department in order to accomplish the following:
• Officer and Department accountability
• Zero tolerance for racial profiling
• Police Department transparency and public records releases
• Internal investigations
• Officer "use of force" and officer shooting procedures, training and policies
• Policies on how police handle protests
• Racial-bias training techniques and procedures
• De-escalation techniques, practices and procedures
• Officer mental health issues policy recommendations, practices and procedures
• Recruitment practices to including more diversity recruitment goals, impediments to recruiting a more diverse police force including civil service exam and other barriers
• Community relations best practices and improvement plans
• The study of and compliance with all pertinent Federal, State and Local laws as they apply to the issues being discussed
• Examination and re-imagining of public safety infrastructure
• Evidence-based recommendations for other positive practices to improve transparency, accountability and relationships between law enforcement and the community
• Police Department budget and resource allocation funding.
The commission would be comprised of "community members and issue experts that represent communities most impacted by harm and/or bring broad expertise in the form of knowledge of the issues and options."

Here's that proposal:
The other proposal, labeled Citizens Accountability Advisory Board (CAAB), calls for the appointment of 11 members for three-year terms chosen like this:

Each council member shall appoint (1) member from their district, and the council as a whole shall appoint (5) at large members from communities disproportionately impacted by policing procedure (e.g. people of color and individuals with lower income.)
Members would have to be registered voters in Colorado Springs and couldn't have ties to law enforcement within El Paso County.

The aim would be to gather data and then make policy recommendations based on that data. As explained in the proposal:
Establish and maintain a system of audits (including an independent external audit) and reporting. Work in collaboration with CSPD and City Council to advise on formation of data dashboard for use by council and for public transparency.
Data shall include, but not be limited to:
Hiring Practices
Training Procedures
Aggregate Data including arrests, disciplinary action, location, demographics, use of force.
Here's that proposal:
Council was to discuss further details of the advisory board today and take action tomorrow, June 23.

This blog has been updated to correctly attribute the proposals to the groups who proposed them.

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