Police Conduct Oversight Commission July Meeting

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The Police Conduct Oversight Commission met for its regular monthly meeting on July 8, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.

First on the agenda was a presentation by Sergeant David Garman regarding the Crisis Intervention Team, a special subset of the Minneapolis Police Department handling individuals in mental health crisis.  Commission members have taken a particular interest in how individuals with mental health issues are handled by the Minneapolis Police Department, and in particular the training given to officers surrounding such issues. Sergeant Garman described significant steps MPD is taking to improve police contact with individuals with mental health issues, and he indicated there is more still to be done. One community member later commended Sergeant Garman for deciding to attend the remainder of the Commission meeting after his presentation, in what the community member interpreted to be a positive gesture.

Next on the agenda was the 2014 second quarter report for the Office of Police Conduct Review, reported by the OPCR Director Michael K. Browne. Director Browne indicated that while most numbers have stayed consistent from quarter to quarter, four of the five precincts and the Special Operations Division are now meeting coaching deadlines. The remaining precinct improved its response time to coaching assignments in Q2-2014. Director Brown also noted that Chief Janeé Harteau took action on several cases that reached her desk after a no merit determination by the Police Conduct Review Panel, mandating special training for officers involved in a complaint.

After the 2014 second quarter report, the Commission took up the Police Conduct Oversight Commission Strategic Plan. The plan lays out the Objectives and Mission of the Police Conduct Oversight Commission including:

“To be the citizen advisory group responsible for auditing, outreach and policy review of police conduct in Minneapolis and to be a credible public body that becomes the place community members take their concerns of police/community interactions and police turn to for credible feedback.”

The Plan goes on to create six month, twelve month, and twenty-four month goals for the Commission,  including developing and implementing cultural awareness training for the MPD, scheduling Commission community listening sessions at regular intervals, and conducting research on use of force and video /body cameras. The Commission noted that it has already made significant progress on many of its six month goals. After a brief discussion and a minor amendment, the Commission formally adopted the Strategic Plan.

A recurrent theme throughout the Commission meeting was the significant number of cases that are referred to coaching process.  Although the coaching process does not result in discipline of the officer, coaching accomplishes a great deal.  Coaching involves a direct supervisor and an officer involved in a complaint formally meeting to discuss what occurred during an incident. The process also allows a direct supervisor to discuss with the officer involved polices and expectations for performance  and to provide training in how to handle the situation differently, with the goal of long term behavioral changes in the Minneapolis Police Department.  Thus, the OPCR coaching process addresses problematic behaviors and influences positive change.

Candace M. Groth

Intake Investigator & Special Projects

Office of Police Conduct Review (OPCR)

The writer is a recent graduate of Hamline University School of Law (May 2014) and a new Intake Investigator for the OPCR.

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Director Korbel and Assistant Director Newborn attend the CAF Red Tail Squadron Reception in Saint Paul!

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Members from the Civil Rights Department attend the 8th Annual CAIR-MN Ramadan Dinner on Civil Rights!

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Director Korbel and Assistant Director Toni Newborn attend the 8th Annual CAIR-MN Ramadan Dinner on Civil Rights!

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Director Korbel visits KMOJ on Friday

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Director Korbel visited KMOJ  to discuss the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to give information about the Civil Rights Department.

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Police Conduct Oversight Commission Gains Community Insights at First Listening Session

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The Police Conduct Oversight Commission (PCOC) held its first listening session on June 14, 2014 at the Urban League in North Minneapolis.  Community members and PCOC commissioners engaged in a lively conversation on topics ranging from the diversity of the police force to how misconduct allegations should impact field training officer eligibility.

KFAI Radio released a short story on the listening session on June 30, 2014, and can be access here: http://kfai.org/news/2014/06/44306.

Community members also had questions about the role of the PCOC itself, which is in its first year of operation.  The PCOC provides civilian oversight of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) by increasing the transparency of and civilian influence on MPD policies.  In other words, the PCOC does not investigate and make decisions about individual cases of police misconduct (a function fulfilled by the Police Conduct Review Panel) but instead provides the MPD with broader policy guidance while ensuring that MPD effectively implements its policies.  More specifically, Minneapolis Ordinance 172.80 empowers the PCOC to (among other things):

1)      Audit complaints of police officer misconduct;

2)      Research best practices for preventing misconduct;

3)      Review the MPD’s current policies and training procedures; and

4)      Facilitate cultural awareness training. 

For instance, the PCOC is currently auditing the MPD’s coaching process and, in preparation for facilitating cultural awareness trainings, researching best practices throughout the country.  Members of the public can track the progress of these two projects online at the PCOC Research & Study page.

The PCOC was very encouraged by the degree of passion demonstrated by the community members attending to the listening session.  For example, one community member noted the lack of Hmong officers at the sergeant and lieutenant levels, while another member explained the frustration of being frequently stopped by police, for no apparent reason, when travelling in certain areas of North Minneapolis.  Other participants expressed concerns about how officers are trained at the police academy and in field officer trainings.  The PCOC commissioners appreciate these contributions and have made note of these and the other issues discussed for its future projects.

In the future, the PCOC hopes to partner with community organizations to encourage more people in Minneapolis to participate in future listening sessions.  The PCOC hopes to hold its next listening session in the Fall of 2014, with more details to come.  In the meantime, it invites the public to attend its meetings, which take place in City Hall in room 241:

  • July 8, 2014 at 6:00pm: PCOC meeting
  • July 22, 2014 at 6:00pm:  PCOC Policy Committee meeting
  • July 24, 2014 at 5:30pm:  PCOC Outreach Committee meeting
  • August 12, 2014 at 6:00pm:  PCOC meeting
  • August 26, 2014 at 6:00pm:  PCOC Policy Committee meeting
  • August 28, 2014 at 5:30pm:  PCOC Outreach Committee meeting

Author: Commissioner Jennifer Singleton 

The Commission can be contacted via email at PCOC@minnespoalismn.gov. Please use the subject line “Attention to Committee Clerk.” Emails will be provided to commissioners at the next Commission meeting. 

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Urban Scholar attends the Interfaith Voting Rights Act Event at Shiloh Temple

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Urban Scholar  Manire Vaughn with Civil rights pioneer Dr. Josie Johnson at the Voting Rights Act: Act to Remember-Act to Restore interfaith event.

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Celebrate Minnesota’s Summer of Civil Rights

July 2, 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Help celebrate the golden anniversary of this landmark legislation by taking part in the many events that are part of Minnesota’s Summer of Civil Rights.

Police Conduct Oversight Commission listening session
10 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 14
Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis

Loving Day
3 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 14
American Burger Bar, 354 Wabasha St. N., Saint Paul

Voting Rights Act: Act to Remember, Act to Restore
2 p.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, June 22
Interfaith event at Shiloh Temple, 2647 Bloomington Ave., Minneapolis

50th anniversary opening ceremony
5 p.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 24
Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul
RSVP

CAIR-MN Ramadan dinner
7 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, July 12
University of Minnesota Coffman Memorial Union, 300 16th Ave. SE, Minneapolis

Key reflections on the Civil Rights Act from Minnesota judges
5 p.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 23
William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Ave., Saint Paul

50th anniversary closing ceremony
5 p.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, July 31
Location TBD

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in the United States based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It also provided voter registration protections and ended racial segregation in schools, workplaces and facilities that serve the general public.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Summer of Civil Rights Facebook profile.

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