Thursday, June 24, 1999

How complaint against a police officer works




        Citizens can complain to:

        • The Office of Municipal Investigations (OMI), an independent arm of the city that investigates complaints against city employees. OMI was created in the 1970s, when critics insisted the police couldn't investigate themselves.

        • The police division's internal investigations unit, which sometimes asks for reviews conducted by other police units, such as homicide investigators.

        Those investigations can then be reviewed by:

        • The Citizens Police Advisory Commission, created after the 1995 Pharon Crosby arrest, a teen whose arrest was televised and ignited charges against police of racism and brutality.

        • The new Citizens Police Review Panel, prompted by the 1997 fatal shooting of Lorenzo Collins. Police shot the escaped mental patient after he charged officers with a brick.

        Discipline can be recommended by:

        • OMI and police internal investigations. The citizen panels have no disciplinary power.

        From there, the reviews go to:

        • Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr.

        • Safety Director Kent Ryan.

        • City Manager John Shirey, who ultimately decides on discipline.

        If discipline is imposed:

        • The police union can help an officer appeal, or the officer can appeal independently through civil service or arbitration.

       



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