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New Police Auditor Could be Headed to Pasadena

Published on Monday, May 9, 2022 | 5:00 am
Dr. Richard Rosenthal

The city could get a new police auditor soon.

The City Council on Monday will vote to authorize the City Attorney to enter into a one-year $150,000 contract with Richard Rosenthal, PhD for independent police auditor services (IPA).

The city has been searching for a new IPA since Brian Maxey stepped down in December 2021 to return to a full-time position as Chief Operating Officer of the Seattle Police Department.

Twelve proposals were received by the city from parties interested in the position.

The City Council Ad Hoc Committee for the selection of the Independent Police Auditor (IPA), which includes Vice-Mayor Andy Wilson and Councilmembers Tyron Hampton, Steve Madison, and Felicia Williams, unanimously recommended that Richard Rosenthal, PhD be selected as the city’s new IPA.

The Community Police Oversight Commission (CPOC) IPA Selection Ad Hoc Committee also endorsed this recommendation.

Dr. Rosenthal started his career in police oversight as a public corruption prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office where he was involved in uncovering the LAPD Rampart Scandal, which ultimately resulted in the imposition of a federal consent decree on the Los Angeles Police Department.

He subsequently served as the first Police Auditor in Portland, Oregon and the first police monitor for the city and county of Denver.

In 2012, he was hired by the Province of British Columbia to serve as the first chief civilian director of its independent investigations office with the responsibility to conduct criminal investigations of police uses of deadly force.

He received a PhD in Criminology in 2021, with an emphasis on the study of police oversight and accountability.

Since leaving full-time positions, he has been working as an assistant monitor for the Cleveland Consent Decree, and also works with the Washington State governor’s office as its principal consultant to create its Office of Independent Investigations (OIi), which promises to be the first Independent Critical Incident Investigation Agency (ICIIA) in the United States.

On October 5, 2020, the City Council adopted an ordinance creating a Community Police Oversight Commission, as well as an Independent Police Auditor in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota.

That ordinance requires that the City Attorney “retain and administer” an IPA who reports to the City Council.

The IPA’s duties include, among other things, serving as a best-practices advisor to the commission, reviewing categorical uses of force by Pasadena Police Department officers, reviewing investigations of personnel complaints of bias-based policing, and recommending changes to PPD policies, procedures, or officer training. To perform these duties, the ordinance provides the IPA with “unimpeded access” to various PPD personnel records, and the authority to subpoena records (with the exception of personnel records), and witnesses (with the exception of City employees).

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