Chief says no to adding police auditor

Demitrous Cook.

Evanston's city manager and police chief today said they're moving forward with some recommendations from a police review panel but have decided to reject others.

The Citizen Police Complaint Assessment Committee presented its final report to the City Council last December, and the Council referred the report to the incoming police chief, Demitrous Cook, for review.

In a memo from Cook and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, the two today said they've decided to implement a new intake process for formal complaints that will have them received by the Office of Administrative Adjudication, located in the Civic Center, rather than by the Police Department at the city's police station.

CPCAC had recommended taking complaint intake out of the Police Department to reduce concerns citizens might have about having to file a complaint about the police with the police. The memo says the new procedure will be implemented by July 1.

The new process will permit complaints to be filed online or in person and people can call 311 to make an appointment to file a complaint in person.

Once a complaint is received, it will be forwarded to the Police Department's Office of Professional Standards for investigation.

Bobkiewicz and Cook say they will ask the City Council's Rules committee to dissolve the current Citizen Police Advisory Committee, as recommended by CPCAC, and create a new Citizen Police Review Commission with nine members appointed by the mayor. The new commission would begin work Sept. 1.

The CPCAC also recommended that the city hire a consultant to create an alternative dispute resolution mediation program for police complaints and create a new position of police auditor.

The city manager and police chief rejected both of those proposals.

They said the alternative dispute resolution idea would require amendments to colliective bargaining agreements with the plice union and wasn't "in the city's best interests ... at this time."

They said they doubted the need to spend funds on the police auditor position, given "the low number of complaints filed." But they said management of the new Citizen Police Review Commission should occur outside of the Police Department and that the city manager would designate a senior manager to serve as the primary staff to the commission.

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