here's the agenda for tonight's charlottesville police civilian review board meeting.

we've got police chief brackney, city attorney lisa robertson, & acting city manager john blair on the call tonight.
board members deirdre gilmore and dorenda johnson are absent during roll call. stuart evans quit a few weeks ago.
ms johnson is apparently having technical difficulties and will try to join by phone.
(i'm not sure if there's maybe some audio delay on his end causing this to happen by accident, but board chair james watson is interrupting people pretty much any and every time any other person is talking)
there are only 4 voting members of the board on the call (phil seay is a non-voting member, but is present). i guess this is technically a quorum? but there are more city employees than board members on the call and it feels weird! (not pictured, the clerk & comms staff)
police chief brackney now giving the police civilian review board a powerpoint about internal affairs.
an inquiry is when someone tells the police department they "didn't get the service they felt like they deserved"
only one of the 5 possible outcomes of an IA investigation involves acknowledging an officer did anything wrong
the example brackney gives for an outcome of "administratively not resolved" is when the officer in question no longer works for the department. CRB chair james watson raises the issue that this is a common problem & asks if the department has any way of seeing past conduct
$20 says she won't tell us how many times any of these possible outcomes have actually happened
decertification is difficult. brackney says if she were to terminate an officer for extreme misconduct, she would submit decertification paperwork (knowing it wouldn't go through under VA's terribly narrow definitions) to send the message that the standards need to change.
board member bill mendez asked a question about one of the internal affairs complaints, referring to the (unnamed) officer as "he." brackney scolds him, "let's be careful about gender - we do have female officers."
the police department is now publishing & posting on their website brief summaries of all internal affairs cases -…
james watson notes that collecting information about the race & gender of the complainant does not necessarily capture relevant data when someone (like a white attorney doing civil rights work) files complaints on behalf of black & brown people
brackney says they have an "early warning system" - if an officer gets "a certain number of complaints in a certain period of time," even if those complaints are resolved as unfounded, it's a pattern that they take a closer look at.
oh good, the entire department just completed implicit bias training from the ADL. what a hilariously useless waste of our tax dollars!!!!
dorenda johnson has called in now. she wants to know what brackney would do if there was an officer that numerous people in the community have bad experiences with, whether they are making formal complaints or not.
(this isn't a hypothetical - she's talking about pleasants)
"i will not discuss individual personnel," brackney says (although dorenda never said his name! she could've been asking in the hypothetical, even if we know she's not)
"i have to have authority & jurisdiction to investigate that," brackney says a formal complaint has to be made
"we have a problem in getting people to trust you enough, to trust the police department enough, to file the complaint," says dorenda johnson.
"you can have all the intervention that you want, but if it's in that officer's heart that he or she has a bias toward a certain group of people, all due respect - that training is not gonna do jack!" police review board member dorenda johnson tells chief brackney.
brackney acknowledges this - going as far as to say that she knows many of the officers involved in recent high profile police brutality incidents have HAD similar anti-bias training, but that this training needs to become "part of the culture," not a one-off event.
public comment is weirdly in the middle of the agenda. there are 11 people on the zoom call (including me) and no takers for public comment.
(people may be watching on other platforms, but you have to be on zoom to make a comment)
board chair james watson says the force is not very diverse, saying there are currently no black female officers at all (with the exception of the police chief herself)
"black females make up about 3%" of law enforcement officers, says chief brackney. "i am very interested in a diverse, multi-ethnic police department that is invested in the community and from the community."
brackney cites hiring difficulties, including residency requirements (which we do not have). she says the starting salary, $44k, is not enough for people to live on here
(i mean, true, but also i make much less than that and i choose to live in the community i serve)
i'm so sorry to the members of the original police civilian review board. you worked so hard to try to make something decent and good that could help people and now it's... a chat about how we can hire more lady cops.
oh now we're having public comment. don gathers has called in. he asks what is being done to build some level of trust with the community.
chief brackney says she's had several calls with PCRB chair james watson about this very topic.
brackney says the department has been looking to hire a "4th amendment analyst" (someone to analyze data about their stop & frisk encounters, but she hates that term). they're down to 3 candidates & she has asked james watson & bellamy brown to be part of the next interviews.
next up, a discussion with acting city attorney lisa robertson about "administrative, housekeeping" matters related to the board's ability to hold hearings.
until their executive director position is filled, those duties will be performed by the (acting) city manager
unlike most public boards, not every record handled by the police civilian review board is a PUBLIC record. they will have to get additional training on handling confidential records & sign confidentiality agreements before accessing police personnel records & IA files.
they’re helping
there has apparently been one submission on the RFP for independent counsel for the police review board & submissions are now closed.
city councilor michael payne now giving the board an update: due to new city communications staff coming on next month, all city boards & commissions will be allowed to meet once a month for up to three hours + subcommittee meetings will now be allowed on a limited basis.
phillip seay, the member of the board who has a law enforcement background, asks (with no small note of irritation in his voice) why the law enforcement member is a non-voting board member. michael payne says he'll find an answer to that.
public comment again. elizabeth stark notes the very short terms for CRB members - has the board explored extending these terms or asking council for permission to meet more than once a month?
councilor payne cites limitations due to the burden on communications staff - all boards have been limited in their ability to meet throughout the pandemic, but in true politician form says he will take the issue to council for discussion.
meeting adjourned. i have absolutely no faith in this body to accomplish anything worthwhile and that makes me very sad.

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