Section 110-338; Ord. 20331; Amending Chapter 21 of the City Code to establish the Citizens Police Review Board


Ordinance No. 20331                            Council Bill No. B 160-09 A

     AN ORDINANCE

amending Chapter 21 of the City Code to establish the Citizens Police Review Board; and fixing the time when this ordinance shall become effective.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

    SECTION 1.    Chapter 21 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Columbia, Missouri, is hereby amended as follows:

Material to be added underlined.

ARTICLE III.  CITIZENS POLICE REVIEW BOARD

Sec. 21-44.  Purpose.

     The purpose of this article is to provide an external and independent process for review of actual or perceived police misconduct thereby increasing police accountability to the community and community trust in the police.

Sec. 21-45.  Definitions and rule of construction.

     The following definitions and rules of construction apply to this article:

     “Board,” when not otherwise specified, means the citizens police review board.

     “Complainant” means a person who files a complaint with the police department against a police officer.

     “Complaint” means a written statement alleging misconduct of a police officer involving interaction with the public.

     “Notice” shall be considered given when it is hand delivered or three (3) business days after it is mailed.

     “Police officer” and “officer” means a commissioned law enforcement officer, other than the chief of police, who has the power of arrest and who serves in the Columbia police department.

Sec. 21-46.  Establishment; membership; qualifications; terms; and removal.

     (a)    The citizens police review board is hereby established.

     (b)    The board shall consist of eight (8) members appointed by the city council and a member of the commission on human rights appointed by the commission.  Members shall serve without compensation.

     (c)    Board members must be residents of Columbia and registered voters.  Board members may not be employed by the city, be a party to any pending litigation against the city, be an elected public office holder, or be a candidate for elected public office.  Board members should reflect the cultural and racial diversity of Columbia and have no serious criminal record.  The police chief shall obtain a criminal history of all applicants for membership on the board and advise the city council of any convictions for violations of federal, state or local law.

     (d)    Three (3) of the members first appointed by the city council shall serve terms of two (2) years, three (3) shall serve terms of three (3) years and two (2) shall serve terms of four (4) years.  Thereafter, members appointed by the city council shall serve terms of three (3) years.  The member appointed by the commission on human rights shall serve a term of one (1) year.  No member shall serve more than six (6) consecutive years. Vacancies shall be filled for unexpired terms in the same manner as the original appointments.

     (e)    The board may recommend to the city council that a board member be removed from the board if the member persistently fails to perform the duties of office.

Sec. 21-47.  Officers; meetings; quorum; rules.

     (a)    The board shall elect a chair and vice-chair from among its members.  The term of these officers shall be one (1) year.  The chair shall preside at meetings.  The vice-chair shall preside when the chair is absent or otherwise unable to preside.

     (b)    The board shall meet monthly.  When requested by the board the police chief or the chief’ s designee shall attend board meetings to serve as an informational resource for the board.  The board shall provide an opportunity for public comment at each monthly meeting.  The board shall meet semi-annually with the chief of police to discuss issues of concern and to recommend ways that the police can improve their relationship with citizens.  The board may also make recommendations regarding policies, rules, hiring, training and the complaint process.  

     (c)    Five (5) members shall constitute a quorum for conducting business.

     (d)    The board may establish rules and procedures that do not conflict with this code or the rules and regulations governing internal affairs investigations.

     (e)    Board members shall follow the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) Code of Ethics.

Sec. 21-48.  Administration and training.

     (a)    The city manager shall designate staff for the administration of the board.

     (b)    New board members shall participate in orientation and training that includes review of the police professional standard unit’ s operating policies and procedures and a ride along with police officers.  Training shall also include topics suggested by NACOLE in its recommended orientation and training for board members.  

Sec. 21-49.  Duties.

The citizens police review board shall have the following duties:

     (1)    Review appeals from the police chief’ s decisions on alleged police misconduct as provided for in this article.

     (2)    Host public meetings and educational programs for Columbia residents and police officers.

(3)    Review and make recommendations to the police chief and city manager on police policies, procedures and training.

     (4)    Prepare and submit to the city council annual reports that analyze citizen and police complaints including demographic data on complainants, complaint disposition, investigative findings and disciplinary actions.  The reports should also describe the board’ s community outreach and educational programs.  The reports should also set forth any recommendations made on police policies, procedures and training.  The reports shall be submitted no later than March 1 for the previous calendar year.

Sec. 21-50.  Internal affairs procedures; police officer rights.

     (a)    The city manager shall cause police department rules and regulations to be established that provide for internal affairs investigations.  These rules and regulations must be consistent with the provisions of this article and chapter 19.

     (b)    Police officers under investigation shall have the following rights in connection with internal affairs investigations:

     (1)    The police officer may provide a written or oral statement to an investigator before investigative findings are made.

     (2)    The police officer may have an attorney or Columbia Police Officer Association representative present during the officer’ s interview to observe the interview.

     (3)    When practicable, a police officer interview shall be conducted during the officer’ s normal working hours.

     (4)    The police officer may record the officer’ s interview or obtain a copy of any recording of the interview made by the city.

Sec. 21-51.  Complaints, police chief decision on complaint; appeals to board.

     (a)    Complaints may be filed with the police department or with the city clerk.  The city clerk shall promptly forward complaints to the police chief.  Complaints must be filed within one (1) year from the date of the alleged police officer misconduct.  The board shall take no action on a complaint alleging misconduct that the police department is treating as a criminal matter unless and until the police determines that the officer’ s alleged conduct was not criminal or a prosecutor has declined to prosecute the alleged offense or a prosecution of the alleged offense has concluded.

     (b)    Unless the complaint has been withdrawn or the police officer is no longer employed by the city, the internal affairs process shall conclude with a decision by the police chief that the officer’ s actions were proper, the officer’ s actions were improper or there was insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations in the complaint.  If the officer’ s actions were found improper, the police chief shall take appropriate disciplinary action.  

     (c)    The police chief shall promptly give written notice of the decision and any disciplinary action to the police officer and the complainant.  The notice shall include information on the right and manner of appealing the decision of the chief to the citizens police review board.  

     (d)    Both the police officer and the complainant have the right to appeal the police chief’ s decision to the board.  An appeal to the board must be made in writing and delivered to the city clerk.  The clerk must receive the appeal within twenty-one (21) days after the notice of the chief’ s decision was given.  The appeal must be either hand delivered to the office of the city clerk or sent to the city clerk by United States mail, facsimile machine or electronic mail.  

     (e)    When an appeal has been filed, the city clerk shall promptly notify all board members and the police chief.  The police chief shall promptly forward to each board member a copy of all police department records pertaining to the complaint and the investigation of the complaint.  

Sec. 21-52.  Board review and recommendation.

     (a)    The board shall review the record of the investigation and may request the police chief to order further investigation.  Subject to the availability of appropriated funds, the city shall contract with independent investigators  to assist the board in its investigations of alleged police misconduct.

     (b)    The board, as part of the review of an appeal, may interview and hear comments from witnesses to the incident under investigation.  The board shall not allow comments by the general public as part of the review.  

     (c)    The police chief and all police officers shall cooperate with the board in its review of appeals from the police chief’ s decision.  Cooperation shall include, but not be limited to, appearing before the board upon request and answering all questions honestly and thoroughly.  Failure to cooperate shall be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

     (d)    The board shall provide timely updates on the progress of the review and any follow-up investigation to the complainant and the police officer, unless the specific facts of the review and investigation would prohibit such updates.

     (e)    The board may decline further action on an appeal if it determines that the alleged acts of misconduct are false and that the complainant knew they were false when the appeal was filed.

     (f)    After completing its review and investigation, the board shall report its findings and recommendations to the city manager, the police chief, the police officer and the complainant.  

     (g)    If the board agrees with the police chief’ s disposition of the complaint, it shall give notice to the police officer and the complainant that they have the right to appeal the chief’ s decision as provided in section 21-53.

     (h)    If the board recommends a disposition of the complaint other than the disposition made by the police chief, the chief shall have ten (10) business days to reconsider the original decision and either reaffirm or modify it.  The chief shall give written notice of the decision to the board, the city manager, the police officer and the complainant.  The police chief shall also give notice to the police officer and the complainant that they have the right to appeal the chief’ s decision as provided for in section 21-53.  If the chief takes no action within ten (10) business days after the date of the board’ s findings and recommendation, the original decision is automatically reaffirmed and the board shall give notice to the police officer and the complainant that they have the right to appeal the chief’ s decision as provided for in section 21-53.

Sec. 21-53.  Appeals to city manager or personnel advisory board.

After the board’ s findings and recommendation or, if applicable, the chief’ s decision after reconsideration, the police officer and the complainant shall have the right to appeal as follows:

     (a)    The police officer may appeal the police chief’ s decision to the personnel advisory board if the officer was suspended, demoted or discharged.  The appeal shall be made by filing a written request with the city clerk for a hearing before the personnel advisory board.  The request shall set forth the employee’ s grievance and reasons for appeal.  The request must be filed within twenty-one (21) days after the officer was given notice of the right to appeal.  The hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of chapter 19.  The director of human resources shall give the complainant ten (10) days written notice of the hearing.  At the hearing, the complainant shall be allowed to testify to the facts of the incident and shall be allowed to express an opinion on the appropriate personnel advisory board action.  

     (b)    The police officer may appeal the police chief’ s decision to the city manager if the officer’ s discipline was other than suspension, demotion or discharge.  The appeal shall be made by filing a written statement with the city manager setting forth the employee’ s reasons for appeal.  The request must be filed within twenty-one (21) days after the officer was given notice of the right to appeal.  The appeal shall be handled in accordance with the provisions of chapter 19.  The city manager shall give notice of the appeal to the complainant and afford the complainant the opportunity to discuss the matter with the city manager.  

     (c)    The complainant may appeal the police chief’ s decision to the city manager.  The appeal shall be made by filing a written statement with the city manager explaining the reasons for the appeal.  The request must be filed within twenty-one (21) days after the complainant was given notice of the right to appeal.  The city manager shall give notice of the appeal to the police officer.  The officer shall have fourteen (14) days after notice has been given to file a written response to the complainant’ s appeal with the city manager.  The officer and the complainant shall not otherwise communicate with the city manager concerning the complaint.  If the employee has also appealed, the procedures of subsection (a) or (b) shall be followed.  If the employee has not appealed, and the city manager determines that the alleged facts may merit more severe discipline involving the suspension, demotion or discharge of the police officer, the city manager may refer the matter to the personnel advisory board for a hearing following the procedures set forth in chapter 19.  Otherwise, the city manager may act on the appeal as the manager deems appropriate.  

Sec. 21-54.  Open records and meetings.

     (a)    Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2-25.3, all records pertaining to complaints filed against police officers alleging misconduct of the police officer shall be open records, except those closed by state or federal law and except that records or portions of records that would disclose the identity of an officer working undercover shall be closed.

     (b)    The board shall not meet in closed session to discuss or hear statements concerning alleged non-criminal misconduct of police officers, except to the extent that the subject matter of the discussions or statements, under state or federal law, cannot be discussed or made in an open meeting and except that the board shall meet in closed session to discuss or hear statements that would involve disclosure of the identity of an officer working undercover.  

Sec. 21-55.  Mediation.

The board shall develop a mediation process for resolving citizen complaints.

Sec. 21-56.  Advocates.

     (a)    Every complainant has a right to be assisted by an advocate.

     (b)    The board shall recruit and train community members to serve as advocates for complainants and shall maintain a roster of trained advocates.  A complainant, however, may choose any person to serve as advocate.  

     (c)    Every person who inquires about filing a complaint will be offered an advocate. Every person who requests mediation will be encouraged to be assisted by an advocate.

     (d)    Advocates shall not be employees of the city and the city shall not compensate them for their services.

Sec. 21-57.  Obstructing board operations.

It shall be unlawful for any person, in any manner, to willfully intimidate, influence, impede, deter, threaten, harass, obstruct or prevent another person from freely, fully and truthfully cooperating with the board.

Sec. 21-58.  Annual evaluation by council.

Each year, after reviewing the board’ s annual report, the city council shall review the effectiveness of the board and shall determine whether this article should be modified or repealed.
    SECTION 2.    The authority of the Citizens Police Review Board to review appeals from the police chief’ s decisions on alleged police misconduct shall only apply to decisions made by the police chief after January 1, 2010.

    SECTION 3.    The first annual report required by section 21-49 shall be due on March 1, 2011.

    SECTION 4.    This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage.

    PASSED this 20th day of July, 2009.