Sunday, February 22, 2009

IPA or No IPA?

Independent Police Auditor, this is something that Mayor Autry requested many times in his tenure as mayor of Fresno and the issue has now returned. Every few months it seems something crazy happens in the Fresno Police Department and this issue comes back. I hear about about the officers that may have gone over board (and had the misfortune of being caught on tape) and the unit that got disassembled. It makes the idea of having someone keep and eye on FPD sound pretty good.

Then I read Brian Calhoun's reasoning for not hiring an IPA. I must say that he made a lot of sense, especially when talking about what they would do all year.

What would an Office of the IPA (generally an attorney with staff assistants) do 365 days a year? It is only human nature (and job self preservation) to appear busy. My guess is that the IPA would be a magnet for every disgruntled person wanting to contest a parking or speeding ticket. It would constantly be second-guessing elected officials, the chief of police and, possibly, the courts and grand jury. And how would this additional oversight operation differ from the City Attorney's office, staffed as it is with well-paid, competent attorneys that are fully prepared to investigate possible police malfeasence?

Calhoun also talks about Chief Jerry Dyer handling these situations well as the arise. I haven't seen anything that makes me question how Chief Dyer handles issues. My problem is why do these things keep happening? That is the argument for Fresno City to employ an Independent Auditor. But I think Calhoun has a great point. So couldn't we just bring in a consultant or someone on a short contract? Someone to analyze why these things keep happening and that exact the kind f institutional change that might be needed? Because what is going on now just doesn't seem to be helping.

1 comment:

David said...

I am afraid that Brian Calhoun's description is a serious distortion of what and how this position would function. It is not about parking tickets. It is about accountability, something that few organizations are able to provide for themselves (witness the national financial crisis). Most major cities in California have an IPA.

There are many of us in Fresno who have studied this in depth for years and as a result believe quite strongly that this office needs to be created. There is a petition that has just been started in support of the IPA at Petition for City of Fresno IPA