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.