PARC's staff and worldwide network of consultants have decades of experience working in and with law enforcement – promoting common-sense solutions and advancing effective, accountable law enforcement.
Merrick Bobb Partner & Co-Executive Director
Merrick J. Bobb is a PARC Partner and Executive Director of its Los Angeles office. Merrick has consulted for on conducted work in the cities of Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, Burbank, Pasadena, Oakland, and San Francisco, California; Wallkill, New York; Albuquerque and Farmington, New Mexico; Mesa, Arizona; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland and Eugene, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; and many others. He currently serves as the federal court-appointed monitor overseeing a federal consent decree addressing the Seattle Police Department.
For nearly 22 years, Merrick served as Special Counsel to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for the purpose of monitoring the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD)–the fourth largest law enforcement agency in the United States. In doing so, he functioned as the first long-term, independent monitor of a law enforcement agency. Merrick issued some 34 reports that addressed a host of critical issues, including use of force, civilian complaints, internal investigations and reviews of critical incidents, training, supervision, and risk management.
Merrick served on two blue-ribbon commissions that investigated law enforcement in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the Rodney King incident in the early 1990s. Merrick has served as Special Counsel to the Los Angeles Police Commission for the purposes of establishing the first Office of Inspector General (OIG) within the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He co-authored a special study of the LAPD five years after the Rodney King incident. In 2005, he was appointed by Chief William Bratton to serve on a Board of Inquiry to examine LAPD SWAT practices.
PARC has received substantial grants to develop national guidelines or best practices in several important areas. The Bureau of Justice Administration (BJA) made a major grant to PARC to formulate national guidelines for monitors of law enforcement agencies. PARC received a major sub-grant from the COPS Office of the Department of Justice to the LAPD to develop national standards for Internal Affairs bureaus.
Before founding PARC, Merrick, a lawyer, worked at the law firms of Tuttle & Taylor and O'Melveny & Myers. At both firms, he specialized in complex litigation and investigation for public agencies, government, and corporate clients. He also conducted detailed investigations for corporate boards of directors of officers and directors. He is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and of Darmouth College.
Matthew Barge Partner & Co-Executive Director
Matthew Barge is a Partner and Executive Director of PARC's New York City office. Currently, Mr. Barge is the federal court-appointed monitor overseeing a federal consent decree in Cleveland, leading a team of national experts and local community members.
Mr. Barge is also currently serving as lead police practices expert to a retired magistrate judge overseeing an agreement between the City of Chicago and American Civil Liberties Union addressing issues related to "stop and frisk." He has also supervised the court-appointed monitoring team overseeing a federal consent decree in Seattle as the Team's Deputy Director.
Mr. Barge has engaged in significant monitoring and assessment projects for cities including Mesa, Arizona; Los Angeles and Pasadena, California; Denver, Colorado; Farmington, New Mexico; Walkill, New York; and Portland, Oregon. He and PARC have conducted exhaustive reviews of high-profile use of force incidents for the University of California, Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District and made recommendations for improving policy and procedure in each instance.
Mr. Barge has specific substantive expertise in a number of technical areas, including:
- Construction, implementation, and use of data systems to advance evidence-based policing and management, including early warning systems;
- Use of force policies;
- Policies and training regarding less-lethal force instruments;
- Documentation and analysis of stops of civilians and other law enforcement activity to identify potentially disproportionate effects;
- Officer training on use of force, bias-free policing, and procedural justice issues; and
- The creation of rigorous methodologies for assessing departmental trends and outcomes
A lawyer, Mr. Barge worked as a litigator specializing in complex, multi-district litigation at the law firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan in New York City. He holds a J.D. from N.Y.U. School of Law and graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University. He is frequently sought as an expert on police issues by the media, universities and law schools, and government entities.
Brian Center Senior Consultant
Brian Center is the founder and principal of Center Solutions, a law enforcement consulting team. A lawyer, Brian was a department director in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, served as a senior law enforcement expert for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and has been an executive director of an anti-gang non-profit with a mission of building relationships between law enforcement and community members in high-crime neighborhoods.
Brian's consulting work has covered a broad array of issues for both small and large departments. This includes reviewing and editing policies and procedures; analyzing gang strategies; reviewing uses of force and the quality of related internal investigations; assessing the quality of training, advising on organizational management; devising plans to build more trust between officers and the community; assessing a department’s efforts to minimize litigation costs; and assessing the overall efforts of a canine unit.
Brian has been active in a broad array of community activities. He has served as Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, a volunteer mediator for the Federal District Court, and as a delegate to the Alliance of Youth Movements, an organization that brought together the State Department, activists, and non-profits from around the world to combat extremism and violence.
PARC's Network of Consultants
PARC works with a vast network of experienced and skilled consultants – current and former law enforcement executives, police accountability experts, community engagement professionals, social scientists, police psychologists, organizational change management consultants, statisticians, lawyers, and community leaders – to staff every project with a team tailored to the scope of the project and the community being served.