Title: City Hall, 165 Church Street, Second Floor, Meeting Room #2
Description: The meeting was called to Order by Chairman, Frank Cochran.
11 Present: Frank Cochran, Robert Spirito, Leslie Radcliffe, Wayne Hobbs, Noemi Rivera, Bianca Bowles, Catherine Gootkin, Barbara Carroll, Evette Hamilton, Lena Largie, George E. Carter .
Staff: Reginald Thomas (CRB Consultant), Roderick Williams (Corporate Counsel).
3 Absent without notice: Moses Nelson. Alyson Heimer, Evelise Ribeiro
Guest: Lt. Anthony Duff and Det. Charlotte Barham, New Haven Police Department Internal Affairs Division
The minutes from the December 13, 2012 meeting were read and unanimously approved with necessary corrections.
Chair F. Cochran advised that there was no Quinnipiac Management Team representative on the Civilian Review Board (CRB) and that contact with the appropriate persons will be made to seek the appointment of a representative. He also advised that the first meeting of the Charter Revision Committee Public Forum was being held Thursday January 17, 2013 at 7:00pm at Davis School. A Special Meeting of the CRB would be called for that same day at 6:00pm at the Whalley Ave Special Services District offices to discuss presenting a formal position from the CRB to the Charter Revision Committee during their meeting.
Internal Affairs Report:
• The notice of Albert Norris’ retirement from IA staff was advised and a party would be held for her in February.
• 12 cases were closed. One of these resulted in an “I” case as the complaint was made directly by a call to Chief Dean Essermans’ office, and he ordered an investigation.
• Complaints Year 2011: totaled 164. Complaints Year 2012: totaled 169
• CRB Case Readings Schedule: New Office Hours: M-F 9am to 5pm / Sat.-Sun. 9am-3pm (as of October 2012)first Tuesday and third Wednesday of each month 5pm to 7pm.
• Lt. A Duff advised that it is Chief Esserman desire that Internal Affairs (IA) make more home visits to investigate complaints to facilitate the process for civilians. If there is no staff in the office during the scheduled hours, contact Lt. Duff by phone.
• The 2012 American Civil Liberties Union report was distributed by Lt Duff to the CRB members.
• IA advised two new Sergeants sent to IA: Sgt. Jason Minard (Nov. 2012) and Sgt. David Taft (Dec. 2012)
• IA distributed a list of definitions of complaint closure categories.
• Question was raised to IA about the need for the False Statement form that complainants are asked to sign when they are interviewed by IA staff. The board was advised that this is done (1) to inform complainants that it is illegal to make false statements about allegations of officer misconduct and that (2) making of false statements can result in criminal charges against them. Lt Duff advised that he was not aware of any history of any false statements being made, and was not sure that if any were to be found that they would seek prosecution. The board was also advised that if a complainant does not sign the interview form, the interview does not proceed and the case is closed as ‘Non-Pursued’ so use of this form can hamper an investigation. The question was asked then that if there was no real need or use of the ‘warning’ then why is it used. Many complainants already have a view that Internal Affairs is not affective in ‘investigating it’s own’, and use of this form makes the complainant less comfortable about making statements
• The question was asked ‘How is it determined which cases are sent to Patrol to be mediated, and how may civilian complaints from 2012 were sent to Patrol for mediation?’.IA responded “Matters of routine rudeness and traffic related complaints can best be handled by Patrol Supervisors who have immediate and direct contact with the officers that may be involved in these types of complaints, but it is incumbent upon the IA to keep the Patrol Supervisors on the timeline for responding to Civilian Complaints. IA advised that they will get back to us on the number of 2012 complaints that went to Patrol for mediation.
• It was recommended to IA by CRB members that the Civilian Complaint Form that currently can be retrieved from the NHPD website for printing , should also be made available as an ‘online fill able form’ which once completed can be submitted electronically by the complainant directly to Internal Affairs. IA advised that IA PRO (computer tracking program for complaints) is currently being used to input data about complaints but it is underutilized at this time.
• CRB requested that information on year-end totals of complaint closures as well as reports on the number of cases sent and returned back from Patrol be provided by IA at the February 2013 meeting, but no later than the March meeting.
• The matter of the General Orders (GO’s) not being available to the CRB when cases are being reviewed was again discussed with IA. The question was raised ‘to whom and in what form should the request that General Orders (those currently standing as well as those recently revised (that do not jeopardize officer safety) be made available at the IA office for review by CRB members at the time when they are review Civilian Complaints to determine if in fact officer conduct is in violation of or complies with the General Orders ... which is one of our primary assignments as members of the CRB. Internal Affairs advised that the revision of the General Orders is now complete and are in the hands of the City of New Haven Corporate Counsel for final review. The CRB Staff Consultant Reginald Thomas will speak with Corporate Counsel on this matter and advise the CRB when the GO’s will made available to us. The question was asked that ‘while the GO’s are being revised/reviewed, are the old GO’s currently being used as the standard?’ IA could not provide a definite answer as the GO’s were not available at this meeting for them to address specific GO’s.
• Closed cases were assigned to Panels by Frank Cochran:
002-13-C, 105-12-C, 110-12-C, 130-12-C, 134-12-C, 137-12-C assigned to Panel B
140-12-C, 141-12-C, 144-12-C, 146-12-C, 147-12-C, 149-12-C assigned to Panel A
Reports by CRB:
• It was reported by Panel Chairs Robert Spirito (Panel A) and Barbara Carrol (Panel B) that two members of the CRB (Evelise Riberio - an appointment to the CRB from the Board of Police Commissioners; and Alyson Heimer - a representative from East Rock) have not been reading or submitted reviews of cases for more than 2 consecutive series. The ruling was previously made CRB Member fails to read 2 consecutive cases, notification will be sent to the management team requesting a replacement. A notification will be drafted to be presented at the next meeting. Notifications will also be drafted and presented at the next meeting regarding members who have records of frequent absences.
• A CRB members suggested that we begin to discuss cases of particular interest from ones readings during the CRB meetings, not just make panel chair reports. The board was receptive of this and will implement immediately as requested.
• The first Charter Review Commission public meeting will take place on Thursday January 17, 2013 at 7:00pm at Davis Street School. CRB members who worked on preparing a statement to present at this meeting would meet on Thursday 1/17/13 at 6:00pm just prior to the Charter meeting to go over the prepared statement.
• Reports of CRB members attendance record for 2012 will be sent to the Boards that appointed them to serve on CRB (Board of Police Commissioners, Board of Alderman and District Management Teams).
A motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and approved unanimously.
The next meeting of the Civilian Review Board is scheduled for Thursday, February 14, 2013 at New Haven Police Department, One Union Avenue, 3rd Floor Conf Rm.
Submitted by: Leslie Radcliffe, Secretary