Mayor Announces Appointment Of Oversight Board & Review By Nationally Renowned Police Organization
(3/22/2007) NEW HAVEN- Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. and Chief of Police Francisco Ortiz today announced major steps the City is taking to restore confidence in public safety, including bringing in a nationally renowned policing organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of police operations and setting up an Independent Accountability Team to guide the review.
“We have spent the last several days reaching out to key partners, including the State’s Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, members of the faith community, our aldermanic leadership and national policing experts,” DeStefano said. “All have been tremendously helpful and willing to serve in various capacities, bringing a fresh eye to our work around public safety and internal police operations.”
“This process will deliver the best accountability measures by asking the difficult questions about how we can adopt the best practices and from all of this we will emerge with a stronger department that is better able to meet the needs of New Haven’s family,” DeStefano said.
Police Executive Research Forum
The Mayor today announced that the City has secured the services of PERF. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is the leading policing research organization in the country, and is the national organization that cities regularly turn to during times of crisis and organizational change. Through its Management Services component, PERF is frequently called in by towns and cities to conduct studies and evaluations.
Director Chuck Wexler said PERF typically sends in a team of experts, who combine an exhaustive review of procedures and policies in place with a substantial number of interviews to understand how a police department operates. An interim report is developed, which typically takes between 45 and 60 days. PERF then drafts a set of findings and recommendations, which the public is given a chance to comment on in open forums, before final recommendations are made. The whole process generally takes between 90 and 110 days.
At the Mayor’s request, PERF’s assessment will also include a series of focus groups as part of the information-gathering phase. “In a city that values community policing, it’s important to include the voices of our stakeholders in this process early on,” DeStefano said.
PERF’s assessment will look at:
• Internal Values and Ethics
o Employee selection, integrity testing, review the citizen complaint process, and more;
• Investigative services
o Assess case assignment and management, assess utilization of overtime by investigators, examine methods of recruiting and certifying informants and more;
• Procedures, directives and policies, including those that govern operation of the narcotics investigations
o Review selection procedures for narcotics unit personnel, standards for rotation of unit members, review the process and policies used to obtain warrants, review policies and procedures that specify requirements for supervisory oversight of the operations of the narcotics unit and more;
• Issues related to organizational culture of the department
o Review how new members are recruited for the department, selection processes including testing, background investigations and psychological screening, written directives, policies and procedures, assignment, transfer, and special unit selection and more.
The assessment will be overseen by Dr. Craig Fraser, Director of Management Services at PERF and will include a team of nationally recognized experts, including:
– Charles Ramsey, former police chief, Washington, D.C.
– Ron Goldstock, former head of the New York Organized Crime Task Force
– Andy Rosenzweig, former chief investigator, Manhattan District Attorney’s Office
– Tony Daniels, former assistant director of the Washington field office of the FBI and assistant director of the FBI Academy
– Doug Rhoads, former FBI supervisor and deputy chief of police of Albemarle County, Charlottesville, VA
– Robert F. Lunney, former police chief of the Edmonton Police Service and formerly with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
PERF has conducted comprehensive assessments like the one planned for New Haven for more than 100 departments across the country.
The 14-week in-depth study by PERF will conclude with any recommended changes being based on any gaps in internal process along with any inconsistencies in policies and or procedures. The study will then recommend improvements to the department that are designed to avoid future problems by looking to install best practices in alignment with similar US police agencies.
Independent Oversight Board
The Mayor also announced the establishment of an Independent Accountability Team that will help guide PERF’s work. Members of the Board of Alderman, the Board of Police Commissioners, and the Civilian Review board will oversee the PERF study. A list of members is attached.
“The behavior of Billy White and Justen Kasperzyck was sickening and is not representative of the good work the men and women of this department do. But we have an opportunity to make the department even better,” the Mayor added.