Pasadena Police Agree to County Grand Jury Recommendations on Citizen Complaints

City will immediately implement six recommendations, will take one more "under consideration"

Published : Monday, August 13, 2018 | 5:25 AM

Following a Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury investigation into law enforcement at 11 local cities, the Pasadena Police Department has agreed to immediately institute six of seven of the resulting recommendations.

The Grand Jury recommendations focus on how the Department handles complaints from citizens, according to a City staff report to be presented to the Public Safety Committee this week.

In a final report, “Policing the Police: The Citizen Complaint Process and Internal Affairs Function,” the Civil Grand Jury wrote, “Sworn police officers hold incredible power. They can remove a person’s freedom and use deadly force, but they must operate within the confines of the law and adhere to departmental policies and procedures,” emphasizing the need to follow complaint procedures carefully.

The Grand Jury report also noted that “the absence of civilian oversight in 44 of 46 police departments in LA County is a problem that should be of great concern.”

Only two cities in LA County—Los Angeles and Long Beach—have such a police oversight committee.

Eleven other cities were also investigated by the Grand Jury—Bell Gardens. Burbank, Culver City, El Monte, Glendale, Inglewood, Pomona, San Fernando, South Gate, Torrance, and West Covina.

The first Grand Jury complaint directed at the Pasadena Police Department required clearer signage in multiple languages “indicating the location of complaint forms at police stations reflecting the community served by the department.” The City agreed to implement that change, and has already posted signs in Spanish and English in the front lobby of the Police Department building.

The second complaint called for the City to develop a means to file citizen complaints online. The City agreed with the recommendation, but countered that complaints forms, were in fact available online. The City agreed, however, that online forms could be labeled “differently or more clearly,” according to the staff report. The City has since re-labeled the forms as “compliment/complaint forms” online.

The City also agreed to the Grand Jury’s recommendation to “remove warnings that may intimidate or discourage persons from making a civil complaint.”It had begun printing new forms. The process was to have been completed by August 6.

The Grand Jury recommended that the City provide a written disposition response to citizen complaints within 30 days of a complainant’s filing, which the City also agreed to. The City has recently implemented a new software—IA Pro—for the task.

While the Grand Jury recommended that the City log and accept all complaints “regardless of their initial assessment of the seriousness of the complaint,” the City said it would take that recommendation “under advisement” and would “require time to announce a completion date.”

Pasadena also agreed to fulfill a recommendation to “provide detailed and ongoing education and training in all aspects of the citizen complaint process.”

Finally, the Grand Jury recommended that the City “consider developing an appeal process to be initiated when a complainant is dissatisfied with the results of an investigation or disposition.

The City responded that it would take the recommendation “under consideration and review,” and return to the Grand Jury with a determination no later than December 2018.