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Human Relations Commission to Consider Relinquishing Power to Form Police Community Relations Committee

Published on Monday, August 2, 2021 | 5:00 am

The Human Relations Commission will review the municipal code for an update that could remove the commission functions related to the Police Department and law enforcement agencies, as these functions are being absorbed by the Community Police Oversight Commission (CPOC).

Under Chapter 2.85 of the municipal code, the Human Relations Commission has the authority to establish a police community relations committee. It states: “The Commission hereby establishes a police community relations committee to execute the police community relations function of the ordinance. Actions agreed upon in meetings shall be reported to the full Commission. The police community relations committee shall consist of three members.”

The language would be removed, removing the Human Relations Commission’s ability to create the committee. The purpose of the CPOC is similar to the language describing the Human Relations Commission Community Relations Committee.

According to the city’s website, the purpose of the CPOC is to enhance, develop, and strengthen community-police relations, and review and make recommendations regarding the ongoing operations of the Police Department to the chief of police, city manager, and/or city council.

The City Council passed an ordinance establishing the framework of the CPOC in October.

Eight months later, the City Council appointed local residents to the commission. The council also appointed Brian Maxey to serve as an independent police auditor.

The 11-member commission is composed of seven women and four men, including a retired Superior Court judge and retired Sheriff’s Department lieutenant.

Esprit Jones, Noemi Emeric-Ford, Donald R. Matthews, Barbara Stacy, Raul Ibanez, Patricia Kinaga, Lawrence Lurvey and Phillip J. Argento have been chosen to represent the city council and Mayor Victor Gordo.

Three community commissioners, Juliana Serrano, Florence Annang and Alexis Abernethy, have already been seated.

The commission cannot take up cases being investigated by the city or the Police Department.

The commission, which will be required to obey all personnel laws, is currently undergoing required training. 

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