After the hour-long news conference to release the Bisard investigation report, Public Safety Director Frank Straub, Police Chief Paul Ciesielski and Deputy Chief Val Cunningham answered questions from the Law Enforcement Study Commission of the City-County Council.
During testimony and in answer to questions from the councilors, the trio admitted there are inconsistencies and a lack of training in many crucial areas that led to a breakdown in the initial IMPD response to the Bisard crash.
“One of the things we don’t have at DPS or IMPD is a dedicated legal unit,” said Straub when asked about a lack of clear legal advice for officers on the protocol for drawing Officer Bisard’s blood after the crash. “One of the things that we would recommend is that a separate but yet connected legal unit be created in the DPS and within the IMPD.”
Ciesielski explained that Commander John Conley was demoted for failing to establish incident command of the accident scene yet, “We don’t currently have a policy that says incident command must be established.”
Councilwoman Maggie Lewis asked why two officers demoted for supposedly losing control of the accident scene investigation, Deputy Chief Ron Hicks and Assistant Chief Darryl Pierce, were called away from the crash site by Ciesielski.
“I had planned to have a news conference later that afternoon,” said Ciesielski. “I had sent him a message asking them to meet in my office at one o’clock and that’s why they came back. It was not an order.”
That news conference was to bolster the public image of Dr. Straub after a week of criticism by officers. In August, Ciesielski told Fox 59 News that the news conference was his idea and Straub was unaware of his plans. During the news conference announcing the release of the Bisard report, Straub said he and Ciesielski were meeting the morning of the crash and were finalizing plans for that public image news conference.
Democratic councilors indicated they intend to call Hicks, Pierce, Conley and Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi to tell their sides of the story during a meeting in December. At least two of those men have told Fox 59 News they will accept that invitation.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times