The Public Safety Committee will interview seven applicants from community-based organizations for three seats on the city’s Police Oversight Commission at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Patrice Marshall McKenzie of the Pasadena Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Mikala Rahn of Learning Works, Florence Annang of the Pasadena NAACP, Shoghig Yepremian of the Armenian National Committee of America, Kenneth Rotter of the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center, Juliana Serrano of All Saints Church and Alexi Abernathy of the Pasadena-Altadena Chapter of Links will make short presentations to the committee and answer questions.
The process will be similar to the interviews held in February for the District 5 City Council seat appointment.
Interviews will be held virtually and applicants will not be allowed to view presentations by other candidates or hear their interviews.
The committee will recommend three candidates to the full City Council after the presentations next week.
The item is expected to come before the City Council on April 19. The City Council could reject any of the candidates and go back to the original pool of 13 candidates.
“I am honored to be invited to participate in the interview phase for the Police Oversight Commission on behalf of the Pasadena Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated,” Mckenzie said on Thursday.
“Our chapter has served this community since 1960 and has been a consistent and trusted voice on social justice and civil rights issues as a part or our core service priorities.”
According to McKenzie the sorority has been organizing and collaborating throughout Pasadena with our partner organizations on police reform and working to strengthen community relationships with law enforcement for several years.
“The opportunity to be considered to serve on this commission is an extension of our community work,” she said.
The seven candidates were chosen on Wednesday by members of the committee. Each member chose up to seven candidates from a pool of 13 applicants.
Originally the committee was supposed to make recommendations based on the applications, but on Wednesday a majority of the committee agreed to conduct interviews, due to the importance of the appointments.
“This is a matter of tremendous importance. This is the real first step in the appointment process,” said Mayor Victor Gordo.
Mayor Gordo and Councilmember Steve Madison agreed with the idea. We are looking for fairness and people with a willingness to look at all sides of the issue. I think it’s fair to ask questions of the candidates and get a response.”
The City Council is seeking to establish a commission that is 50 percent women and made up of people impacted by encounters with the police.
The city received 87 applications for the commission, including 24 from affluent District 6 neighborhoods in West Pasadena.
Despite the call for oversight from many Black and Latino two of the city’s minority districts combined for 19 applications.
The commissioners will be required to sign confidentiality agreements, participate in ride alongs and complete mandatory training. The city will also hire an Independent Auditor.
“I look forward to being interviewed by the Public Safety Committee next week. I feel honored to be considered among such a phenomenal group of community leaders. I hope the interview and final selection process will be organized, fair and equitable for all candidates,” Serrano said.
Local residents have called for citizen oversight of the police department since the early 1990s.