Police Commission President Steve Soboroff opened the meeting with commission comments, and Commissioner Robert Saltzman began with “disappointing” information going back to his speaking engagement at the last graduation ceremony. He noted there were merely 16 graduates, only one of which was African American. He went on to say his hope for the future would be to “get those numbers up.” Briefly, Commissioner Soboroff spoke next about encouraging all people in the community, media, police personnel and others to speak out and be heard about “what you can do; not what you should do.”
The meeting continued with the Report of the Chief of Police. Chief Charlie Beck began his report by acknowledging that it had been a “difficult week” for the Department due to four uses of force and officer safety being in peril. In spite of gains that have been made, he proposed there was still much work to be done in reference to violence against police officers. He reiterated how seriously the Department views these issues. Chief Beck closed his report with a rundown of current crime statistics.
Commissioner Kathleen Kim followed up on Chief Beck’s comments, asking for his input on creating more community harmony between constituents and police officers, as well as his thoughts on improving race relations. In his response, Chief Beck emphasized the importance of having a police force that racially reflects the communities it serves, and establishing strong connections in the community, individually and collectively, on a daily basis. He went on to talk about structures in place that support these goals.
Consent Agenda Items proceeded with approval of all items and no discussion.
Regular Agenda Items then ensued with four items. Items 8A, 8C and 8D were approved with no discussion. Commissioner Saltzman proposed discussion on Item 8B, which concerned Inspector General Alexander Bustamente’s report on a review of the Department’s video camera system. The inspector general then proceeded to describe two incidents that prompted the report: an in-custody death incident from September 2013 and an incident from April of this year in which gunmen entered a police station and started shooting. Both cases were partially captured on video and prompted an examination at all divisions of camera systems. The examination would hopefully ensure systems were operating at optimal levels and improve/maximize safety at stations. Results of the camera system reviews at all divisions revealed issues and deficiencies with the systems. The report also made recommendations on how these problems could be remedied. A major part of how the systems will be improved will require additional funding.
Both Commissioners Kim and Saltzman had a few questions and comments about the camera system report. Commissioner Saltzman reiterated the need for financial resources but suggested that any non-budgetary improvements on the camera systems be initiated and carried out promptly. Commissioner Saltzman also proposed a follow-up with the commission in two months to report on the progress of improving the systems. Additionally, both Commissioners Soboroff and Saltzman would act as liaisons between the Department and Commission to resolve the camera systems’ issues. Commissioner Saltzman moved for approval of Item 8B, with the stipulation for a progress report in two months, and the commission subsequently approved.