Managing the Risk of Misconduct for the King County Sheriff's Office
On September 11, 2012, PARC released its report on the King County (WA) Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) entitled Managing the Risk of Misconduct for the King County Sheriff’s Office. At the instance of King County's Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO), PARC evaluated KCSO’s investigations and reviews of deputy-involved shootings, other uses force, and personnel complaints. Although KCSO conducts better-than-average investigations of personnel complaints, including a number of excellent ones, their scope is narrower than what best practice currently requires. Investigations and reviews of deputy-involved shootings and uses of force were deficient. In particular, they failed to consider the administrative, strategic, tactical, and policy implications of shootings and serious uses of force. Moreover, KCSO's policies did not always reflect the thinking and advances in policy development in other law enforcement agencies over the last few years. We also found that OLEO urgently requires the necessary resources, staff, and access to make meaningful the authority granted him by ordinance. This report also includes recommendations for policy changes and other procedural reforms.
Click here to read the full document.
Thirty-First Semiannual Report, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
This is the 31st Semiannual Report of the Special Counsel to the Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff, and the public. The last several months has been dominated by unwelcome news about the Los Angeles County Jails and Men's Central Jail in particular. The jail has not been run in a manner consistent with Sheriff Baca's core values, and the result has been cascading newspaper articles, lawsuits, blogs, investigations, the appointment of a blue ribbon commission, and turmoil inside and outside of the LASD over startling allegations, as yet not proven by trial, of excessive force and brutality. Special Counsel made recommendations about the jails in the Kolts Report of 1992 and the semiannual reports thereafter. This Semiannual Report commences with a chapter about jails.
The Semiannual Report also discusses the quality of investigation of complaints by the public against LASD personnel. We have reviewed several hundred cases and comment upon them in chapters two and three of this Report, in which we examine the public complaint process at LASD. Using Watch Commander Service Comment Report (SCR) system, the Department is required to accept, document, investigate, and dispose of any complaint made by a member of the public, whether it be about a particular employee or employees, a practice or policy of the LASD, or even an unrelated issue. For these chapters, we looked at SCRs received by major LASD stations in 2010, the latest year for which there are complete records, including the number and type of complaints and basic information about the involved parties. We evaluated the timeliness of complaint investigation and completion. We also examined a sample of complaints, as described in chapter three, to assess whether they were properly documented, classified, investigated, and adjudicated.
The Report also provides statistics on public complaints at the LASD by unit. Click here to read the full document.
Thirtieth Semiannual Report, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
This is the 30th Semiannual Report on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) to the Board of Supervisors, the Sheriff, and the general public. This Report is the result of extensive research on shootings by LASD deputies between 1996 and 2010, with particular emphasis on 2006-2010. Over the past 15 years, 178 persons have been shot and killed by LASD personnel; an additional 204 were wounded. One-fifth of all suspects hit over the past six years were unarmed--in 2010, the rate was more than one-third. No event in American policing is more difficult to approach analytically or more laden with the potential for emotion and ideology than when an individual is shot by the police. No act by sheriff's deputies creates as great a risk or tragic error or potential liability.
No even is more disruptive of community trust and cooperation than a police shooting that is perceived as wrongful or unnecessary. Likewise, there is no more traumatic incident in the life of a police officer than when he or she must take a life. Although excellent work continues by the LASD in the investigation and adjudication of officer involved shootings--to the credit of the former Executive Force Review Committee (EFRC) Chair, Commander Eric Smith; the current Chair, Commander Joseph Hartshorne; the EFRC sergeant; and the Office of Independent Review--there are other trends which raise matters or substantial concern, particularly demographics: When arrest statistics are taken account, blacks and Latinos are significantly more likely to be shot than are whites and other groups such as Asians. Click here to read the full report.
Twenty-Ninth Semiannual Report, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The first two chapters of this Semiannual Report examine cases where a deputy arrests an individual on the sole charges of resisting arrest, delaying or obstructing a peace officer in his or her duties, or battery on a police officer without injury. We found disparities by race of persons arrested on obstruction charges, particularly on felony charges, although a comparison to all LASD arrests show that the overall disproportion is not specific to this type of arrest. We nonetheless were troubled by a seemingly overzealous use of such charges against blacks in the Lancaster area, where the proportion of blacks arrested on obstruction charges--64 percent--far exceeded the estimated 17 percent of blacks in the overall population. We also found that 48 percent of all adults arrested by the LASD on obstruction charges are never prosecuted, or have charges dismissed or dropped.
The third chapter of the Report looks at hate crimes and the quality of the LASD investigations of them. The specialized unit devoted to hate crimes does an excellent job. The quality of investigation at the station level varied widely. The poor quality of the investigation in the jails in unacceptable. The incidents we described in this report follow long-standing serious lapses by the Men's Central Jail staff leading to the death and serious injury to inmates. Some have concluded that the jail is beyond the possibility of redemption. We reiterate recommendations in earlier reports that the facility should be shuttered and replaced. Click here to read full report.
National Guidelines for Police Monitors
On November 1, 2009, PARC formally presented its monitoring guidelines to the general public at the NACOLE annual conference in Austin, Texas. The guidelines are the culmination of several years of work to bring together the civilian oversight community, monitors, and the law enforcement community in a consensus on basic guidelines for civilian oversight by monitors and others. The guidelines cover the full panoply of ethical, practical, and technical aspects of oversight. They provide guidance to civilian review boards, auditors, police commissions, monitors, and law enforcement agencies subject to civilian oversight, with particular emphasis on monitoring. These guidelines were prepared pursuant to a grant from Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) of the United States Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the Department of Justice. These guidelines are the first of their kind and represent a concerted effort to provide a firm foundation for the emerging profession of civilian oversight of the police. Click here to view guidelines.
Twenty-Eighth Semiannual Report, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
The 28th Semiannual Report of Special Counsel Merrick Bobb, characterized in a Los Angeles Times editorial as a "fair and balanced voice on immigration and law enforcement," discusses the role of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) in the identification of undocumented immigrants in the County jails. At booking, all inmates are asked where they were born. Identifying information on foreign-born inmates is run through immigration and criminal databases. All hits generate an automatic hold or detainer, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the Department of Homeland Security is alerted. Prior to release of any inmate, ICE and the LASD will interview foreign-born inmates to determine if they entered the United States without authorization. Those found to have done so will be turned over to ICE for further detention, deportation, or release. By direction of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the LASD may only interview inmates post-conviction. ICE may interview inmates at any time. Proposed reforms to the federal program would narrow the group of jailed undocumented inmates sought by ICE to those convicted of a serious crime or against whom immigration authorities already have a matter pending. The proposed reforms would also require the LASD to prepare cases for the deportation of inmates. The Semiannual Report expresses concern that this latter requirement involves the LASD in immigration enforcement to a degree not contemplated or sanctioned by the Board of Supervisors. The Report also expresses concern that the Supervisors' requirement that undocumented inmates only be interviewed post-conviction would be impractical or impossible under the proposed reforms.
The Report further examined whether under current practice undocumented inmates with minor offenses were being targeted for deportation. We found that a significant percentage of transferred inmates, 28 percent, were charged with misdemeanors or infractions which, though minor, culminated in the inmate’s ultimate transfer to ICE for deportation proceedings. We cautioned that we were unable to determine their criminal history or whether these inmates had earlier convictions for serious crimes.
The Report also looked at conditions at Mira Loma, an ICE detention facility under the management of the LASD. To the extent that they have criminal records, they have already served their sentences. Nearly a quarter (approximately 22 percent) of detainees at Mira Loma consists of persons who committed no criminal acts or, at most, misdemeanors. The facility also houses asylum-seekers. Conditions at Mira Loma are jail-like. The Report makes a series of recommendations to permit the detainees greater access to the library, contact visits with family, pay for work performed, and other reforms more appropriate to a detention center than a jail. Click here to view full report.
Twenty-Seventh Semiannual Report, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
This Semiannual Report examines broadly whether a computerized early identification system fulfills its promise to accurately identify possible problem officers. This Report also explores whether targeted intervention with problem officers leads to significant reductions in their risk-related activity in the future. To our knowledge, this is the first systematic study of these questions. We examine them in the context of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). Following statistical analysis and research, we conclude that the LASD’s early identification system, called the Personnel Performance Index (PPI), and its targeted intervention program, called Performance Mentoring, perform well, thereby validating the LASD’s efforts and early identification systems in general. It is reassuring to conclude that the PPI works. It captures patterns and reveals trends in officer performance. Substandard behavior indeed does not usually exist in isolation or occur randomly; it is related to other behavior in a way that the PPI captures systematically. The strength and number of relationships in the PPI between key areas of officer performance are notable. Click here to view full report.
Twenty-Sixth Semiannual Report, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
In what the Los Angeles Times described as "the most detailed examination yet of women in the nation's largest women's jail," PARC released on March 11, 2009 the second of two Semiannual Reports on the topic by Special Counsel Merrick Bobb regarding the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD). The report, available here, concludes an expansive year-long look at who the women are and what they experience in the jail, from the time they are booked to the time they are released. The latest report, the 26th Semiannual, describes a survey PARC administered to 300 more than women. The report describes in detail demographic and socioeconomic data about these women as well as examining the kinds of crimes for which these women were jailed. The report notes the exceptionally high recidivism rate of 81% among the women surveyed, over 93 % of whom were previously incarcerated in the LA County Jail. The report examines the Sheriff's programs to reduce recidivism through programming available to the inmates during their stay and upon release from custody. Concluding that the programs themselves are excellent, well-liked, and effective, Special Counsel nonetheless expresses concern that too few women actually get to take advantage of these programs. The Report also touches upon overcrowding in the jails: at the time of writing, women sentenced to less than six months do no jail time at all, and nearly all other women serve only 10% of their sentence. The report urges population reduction through alternatives to incarceration and broader use of programs to reduce the rate of recidivism. The report acknowledges welcome progress by the Department in the timely or provision of medical care to women.
The report also describes the LASD's backlog in testing rape kits and the consequences of the delay on prosecutions of rapists. Click here to view full report.
PARC acknowledges the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation for its generous support of a substantial part of this study. Our full report to the Haynes Foundation can be found here.
The Portland Police Bureau: Officer-Involved Shootings and In-Custody Death
The Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) has released its third follow-up report on officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths within the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) for the Independent Police Review Division (IPR) of the Office of the Portland City Auditor. PARC initially examined the Bureau in 2002 and issued its original report in 2003. IPR has retained PARC in the years since to consider the Bureau’s response to the 89 recommendations that PARC made in the original report.
In the Third Follow-Up report, PARC considered how the PPB has responded to 36 of the original recommendations not yet explored in detail in a follow-up report in concert with review of 12 officer-involved shootings (with one occurring in 2002, one in late 2003, four in 2004, and six in 2005). The report “conclude[d] that the PPB has made substantial progress since we first looked at it in 2002 and 2003.” It found the Bureau “in a progressive mode, with an increased capacity for self-critical identification of issues and formulation of solutions.” It praised Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer and her Bureau for having proactively initiated changes, in March 2008, to the Bureau’s use of force policy that now dictates that officers “use only the force reasonably necessary under the totality of circumstances.”
The report addresses three classes of recommendations from the original PARC report. First, it addresses recommendations related to field supervision, giving the Bureau praise for policy changes relating to the command of critical incidents and urging it to expand such policy to address all such incidents, including those not requiring SERT (Portland's SWAT team) or hostage negotiators. It advocates further strengthening of the Bureau's policies regarding the rendering of medical aid. Second, the report considers officer field tactics, finding the PPB to have, in many cases, been responsive to PARC’s previous recommendations relating to high-risk vehicle stops, vehicle pursuits, consideration of crossfire and backdrop in shooting situations, bystander endangerment, and accidental discharges. PARC identifies instances in which the Bureau could still more systematically and rigorously consider officer use of cover and splitting with partners in the midst of foot pursuits. The report makes recommendations about the use of less lethal force options. Finally, the report praises the Bureau for marked increases in the quality and rigor of the Bureau’s investigations and administrative reviews of officer-involved shootings, recommending that the Bureau continue to emphasize the importance of systematic and rigorous Internal Affairs and Training Division reviews of such incidents. Click here to view full report.
Use of Deadly Force in Denver
The Denver Report was commissioned by the city in the wake of controversial officer-involved shootings. PARC was asked to review 24 officer-involved shootings and whether they were fully and fairly investigated by Internal Affairs. PARC also reviewed in detail Denver's use of force policies and training. Overall, the Denver Report concludes that the Denver Police Department in recent years is becoming a national leader. PARC makes a number of recommendations for further improvement to build upon the excellent progress to date. Click here to view full report.
Twenty-Fifth Semiannual Report, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
This Semiannual Report examines two broad areas of the operations of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department—the provision of care to women who are inmates in the LA County Jail and the lessons learned from litigation. PARC concluded that although the Department has made progress in the provision of medical care to female inmates, particularly in the area of intake screening, there was a lack of accountability to ensure that inmates requesting treatment be seen within 24-72 hours as prescribed by nationally accepted standards. PARC also found that the investigation and resolution of inmate medical complaints was poor and should be improved, and made recommendations to improve the care and treatment of pregnant and postpartum inmates in custody. Finally, PARC found that the LASD has experienced a welcome reduction in the number of new lawsuits filed against it in recent years, and that force-related litigation represents a smaller proportion of total liability than it once did. However, gains in the reduction of force-related litigation must be balanced against increases in litigation arising from custody. Click here to view full report.
A Bad Night at Powell Library: The Events of November 14, 2006
At the behest of UCLA Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams, PARC was engaged to investigate a November 2006 incident in which the UCLA campus police repeatedly tasered a UCLA student who refused to produce his student identification after hours in the main campus library. PARC conducted a seven-month investigation of the facts, including exhaustive research on the Taser itself, on the policies and practices of other universities and police departments regarding use of the Taser, and on the best and recommended practices regarding the Taser formulated by the leading authorities and experts on the question, including model policies drafted by police organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). Click here to review full report.
Promoting Police Accountability and Community Relations in Farmington: Strengthening the Citizen Police Advisory Committee
PARC examined the Farmington, New Mexico police oversight agency, making a number of recommendations for strengthening it. In particular, PARC proposed the hiring of a full-time staff member who would monitor the citizen and internal complaint process at the Police Department. PARC also examined and made recommendations concerning the Police Department's Internal Affairs investigations, use of force reporting, officer-involved shooting investigations, and early identification system. Click here to view full report.The Portland Police Bureau: Officer-Involved Shootings and In-Custody Deaths
In the second follow-up report to its seminal 2003 Report on Portland Police Bureau officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths, PARC examines the Bureau's mainly positive responses to 25 recommendations concerning its internal processes for reviewing officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths and its management of records and information. The report also reviews 10 officer-involved shootings that occurred in 2002 and 2003. Click here to view full report.
Pasadena Police-Community Relations Assessment
The John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation provided PARC with support to carry out a Police-Community Relations Assessment in Pasadena, California. Working with its parent organization, the Vera Institute of Justice, PARC used two different types of surveys to measure levels of community and officer satisfaction in Pasadena. The surveys addressed a wide breadth of issues through the surveys including police-community relations, quality of police services, and police-public contacts. Click here to view full report.
Evaluation of Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commission
PARC and Richard Jerome, PC, were hired by the City of Milwaukee to evaluate the Fire and Police Commission and make recommendations for improvement. That evaluation, "Promoting Police Accountability in Milwaukee: Strengthening the Fire and Police Commission," was made public in June 2006. Click here to view full report.
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