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Sacramento City Council Approves Changes To Police Department Oversight

UPDATE 4:45 a.m.: The Sacramento City Council has approved a proposal to change how the city oversees its police department.

The city will have an 11-person, citizens-only police commission that could not directly investigate police activity.

Councilman Larry Carr says the City's Office of Public Safety Accountability will be moved from under the direction of the city manager to the direction of the city council. It will be staffed to perform independent investigations.

"We're looking at an admin person because we intend to put all of the complaints on the internet -sanitized versions, what the status of it is, how it's resolved, if it's ever resolved, we have a commission officer to support the commission and an investigator to actually go out and investigate when necessary," he says. 

The proposal also requires video of an officer-involved shooting be released within 30 days and includes purchases of "less-lethal" weapons for officers.

Timothy Davis is president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association and opposes much of the proposal, including the requirement that the department list the appropriate use of force depending on the threat level posed.

"Since these have been litigated for decades, there's just case law after case law about what is and what is not appropriate and when we go through the police department academy, we're given use-of-force training," he says.

Davis says many of the changes must be negotiated in collective bargaining. 



Original Post: In response to public outcry over two officer-involved shootings by the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento City Council will discuss tonight some changes to the way the city oversees the police department.

The proposal includes some changes, but will not give a citizen's commission any powers to investigate the department.

The council will consider whether to form a new citizen's police commission. Unlike the one that already exists, it would include no members of law enforcement. But, it would be like its predecessor in that it could not investigate citizen complaints.

Councilman Larry Carr says the City's Office of Public Safety Accountability already has that authority. The proposal would give the city council authority over the OPSA and would increase its staff to allow it to perform independent investigations.

"The commission actually will not be able to investigate," says Carr. "We've had to thread a pretty small needle here between the penal code, the city charter, the contracts we have with our police already, the Police Officers' Bill of Rights. So the OPSA will actually be doing the investigations."

Currently, the OPSA is under the city manager's office and usually supervises investigations performed by the police department's Internal Affairs Division.

The OPSA would receive an increase in staff at a cost of $600,000.

The proposal also includes a requirement that police video of officer-involved shootings be released within 30 days.

It also would increase purchases of "less-lethal" weapons for officers. The proposal would include enticements for officers to live within the city.

Timothy Davis is president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association and opposes much of the proposal, including the requirement that the department list the appropriate use of force depending on the threat level posed.

"Since these have been litigated for decades, there's just case law after case law about what is and what is not appropriate and when we go through the police department academy, we're given use-of-force training," says Davis.

Davis also says many of the changes must be negotiated in collective bargaining.