Citizens Police Review Board asks for CPD reports, recieves funding for Mediation Task Force

The board wants to see a breakdown about how many complaints have been filed.

City Council asked the Columbia Police Department to provide the Citizens Police Review Board with quarterly reports of the number of complaints and concerns the department receives regarding police misconduct in 2011.

The CPRB said these reports have been far too condensed and are not coming in on time.

In a recommended change to the city’s code of ordinances, the CPRB is asking for monthly reports.

“I think what we want is some breakdown about how many complaints have been filed,” CPRB vice-chairman Stephen Alexander said. “If they have been given numbers, how many have been complaints? How many have been concerns?”

CPRB does not need the letters sent by police chief Ken Burton to complaintants, but should see how reports were dealt with, if they were dismissed or upheld, Alexander said.

“At this point we have no idea how many there are,” Alexander said.

This information is crucial for the board to carry out their own duties outlined in the ordinances.

The board’s duties are specified as: reviewing appeals from Burton’s decisions on alleged police misconduct, hosting public meetings and educational programs for residents and officers, reviewing and making recommendations to Burton and city manager Mike Matthes on police policies, procedures and training, and submitting annual reports to the city council to analyze the demographic data of complaints.

In terms of the original letter filed, CPRB member Gabriel Dean said it could help CPRB decide if it needs to request the whole investigative report.

Overall, the recommended changes were true to the spirit of the board’s last meeting, Alexander said.

Citizens’ Police Review Board receives funding for Mediation Task Force

With the approval of the city budget by City Manager Mike Matthes, the CPRB received funding for its Mediation Task Force. It plans to place a bid for qualified mediators and to request proposals from them.

The position of mediator will be by contract, Assistant City Counselor Rose Wibbenmeyer said.

The CPRB can nominate mediators it would like to enter into discussions with, but needs the consent of Police Department Chief Ken Burton before presenting an offer.

Wibbenmeyer suggested the city’s finance department may want to find a mediator themselves because it may be cheaper.

CPRB member Betty Wilson had another idea.

“We should take the lead,” she said. “In keeping with city policy we should open it for bids and not solicit it ourselves.”

CPRB member Jerry Kennett agreed, saying that bids allow for a range in qualifications and possibly a range in hiring price.

If the board chooses to proceed with open bidding, and finds the proposals too expensive, it has the right to reject, Wibbenmeyer said.

“This is a professional service which means you don’t necessarily have to follow that standard process,” she said.

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