The Glendale City Council Tuesday accepted a proposal by Police Chief Randy Adams to set up a special committee to meet monthly and hear public issues and complaints about the Glendale Police Department.
The council could not take an official vote of approval without making it a legislative action and bringing the controls of the Brown Act and public meeting laws into play.
The council met Aug. 22 to consider whether the city should set up a police commission to handle community issues. The meeting was called by Mayor John Drayman after a number of recent complaints about police behavior.
At the time, Chief Adams suggested the issues could be handled by his Community Police Partnership Advisory Committee, a 25-member group which meets quarterly and consists of representatives from community organizations nominated by the groups and selected by the chief.
Tuesday, he came back with an “enhanced” proposal for a subcommittee of the group to meet monthly and hear from the public. This proposal eventually received the council’s unofficial approval.
Speakers at the previous meeting criticized the CPPAC as little known to the public, not open to community residents to attend and as not very transparent in its activities. Adams said the CPPAC members come from community groups, schools, business organizations and other groups across the city.
Adams said there were more than 171,000 contacts between police and Glendale residents last year, and 73 citizen complaints registered. Of these, 17 resulted in some form of discipline against department employees.
The new group, composed of CPPAC members on a rotating basis, will meet regularly in the council chambers, with a published agenda and minutes made public.
What it will not do in any significant way is deal with complaints against police officers. Both Adams and City Attorney Scott Howard said such complaints cannot be discussed in public, and outcomes cannot be disclosed under current law.
La Crescenta resident Sharon Weissman applauded the move, saying a school-based group she is associated with has been hearing more complaints about police issues. The group, the Glendale Social Justice Advisory Committee, was originally set up to deal with military recruitment on campuses.
Councilman Ara Najarian said the group sounded like one that should belong to CPPAC. He also suggested the ASCLU as members, adding, “We maybe need some rabble rousers.”
Local resident Roberta Medford endorsed setting up of a strong group, saying she felt that something more than an advisory group was needed. She said she’d recently had an issue with police, which she declined to discuss.
Community activist Al Hoffman said public contacts could be managed through the COPPS program, with more local offices. Drayman said the Montrose office is totally funded through the Montrose Shopping Park Association.