CRA Work Group final meeting
The CRA work group that I helped set up met for the last time this morning.
Our last official action was to recommend that the City go to the Legislature and actively pursue granting subpoena power to the CRA. If we can't get the Legislature to grant the CRA this authority, the group recommends that we go forward with a charter change.
Coming into this morning's meeting, the recommendation from the subpoena power subcommittee was to pursue limited subpoena power for the CRA, which could be used only for documents and materials. I moved to remove that limitation, and the group agreed.
Concerns were expressed about how the Police Federation might not support this at the Legislature, but it was clear that they also would not have supported the limited power either.
This recommendation joins the rest of the recommendations that the group has already made, which you can view here.
Last night the group held our final public hearing at the Brian Coyle Center. It was fairly well attended, and the comments from the public were very eloquent and impassioned. Many of the speakers supported the ordinance amendment language regarding the Police Chief disciplining officers who have sustained complaints against them. It was clear at the meeting that most people support the language recommended by the work group on 6/29/06 (see here for the text), and opposed "weakening" it.
Aside form all the formal recommendations I also think that the process of working together in this group helped improve communication and understanding among different people and groups and build trust. I am hopeful that this process will continue through the work of the Police Accountability Coordinating Committee that we established as well as ongoing efforts by the police department, Civil right Department and the Civilian Review Authority.
Though the work group is done, the work goes on. Building the kind of partnership and trusting community-police relations we want and deserve is an enormous task.
But even passage of some of proposed reforms has few more hurdle to clear. All of our recommendations will be presented to the HE&E and PS&RS committees, and those items that call for amending the code of ordinances will go through the regular ordinance change process which includes at least one public hearing before going to the full Council for final approval.
I'll keep you posted.