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Burbank Police Commission assumes a stronger oversight role

Burbank Police Commissioners are taking a hands-on approach as they assume their new oversight roles for a department working to leave its past behind.

After months of discussing what their roles would be as an oversight body and how they would ensure the Police Department’s plan for improvement was being adhered to, commissioners last week peppered officials about how audits, training and other turnaround efforts were progressing.

It marked the first time commissioners questioned police in detail about how those elements of the strategic plan and what officials are doing to document the changes since being formally tasked by the City Council to do so.

Police officials have described the strategic plan as a living, breathing document — a road map for the department as it emerges from a litany of terminations for alleged misconduct, discrimination lawsuits and investigations into alleged civil rights violations.


Police Commissioner Tom Bruehl described the strategic plan as a very complex document that “needs to be watched,” perhaps on a quarterly basis.

“It’s a matter of marching through the strategic plan as often as necessary,” Bruehl said.

Robert Corbin, who assisted the Los Angeles Police Department in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and Rampart scandal, and was hired to train commissioners in their oversight roles and was present at last week’s meeting to provide feedback.

In addition to Corbin, Mike Gennaco of the Office of Independent Review was brought on by the City Council to help ensure police were taking the appropriate steps to put their past behind them.


Commissioners have a responsibility to Burbank residents to be able to say police are indeed doing what they say they are going to do, Bruehl said.

A mission statement and core values for the commission is also in the works.

Interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse said the commission had “successfully shifted gears,” and members could be attending an October conference in San Diego on police reform.

“We’re trying to harvest best practices as a police department and they’re trying to harvest best practices as an oversight body,” LaChasse said.

-- Maria Hsin, Times Community News

Twitter: @mariahsin