Sunday, February 13, 2022

Eureka to Consider Hiring Police Auditor

Posted By on Sun, Feb 13, 2022 at 10:18 AM

The Eureka City Council will consider Tuesday a staff recommendation to hire a Los Angeles firm serve as the city’s independent police auditor as a part of the council’s plan to implement the most robust police oversight policy in Humboldt County.

The agenda item that, if passed, will authorize the city manager to enter into a contract of up to $90,000 with OIR Group appears on the council’s consent calendar, which usually consists of items so routine there’s no need to discuss or vote on them individually.

The council voted unanimously Nov. 2 to issue a request for proposals to hire an independent police auditor to work with the city’s re-christened Citizens Accountability Board to provide independent reviews of Eureka Police Department policies and procedures, as well as citizen complaints, internal affairs investigations and serious uses of force. Once the council finalizes a hire for the auditor position, it is slated to complete an ordinance transforming the city’s pre-existing Citizens Advisory board into a body with a sharper focus on oversight.

Founded in 2001 by Michael Gennaco, a former federal civil rights prosecutor who served as the chief attorney for the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review, OIR Group specializes in law enforcement oversight and has become recognized throughout the state and beyond for its work. And recent news accounts of the firm’s work in Palo Alto and Vallejo suggest the firm has not shied away from issuing reports sharply critical of the departments it is overseeing.

The agenda item will come before the council just months after a new interim police chief has taken over at EPD, and as the city is in the process of trying to take disciplinary action against five officers stemming from the text messaging scandal that made national headlines last year.

The council’s full agenda can be found here, and the staff report on the OIR Group contract here. Find past Journal coverage of the issue here. The council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Eureka City Hall, 531 K St.
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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