I served on the Citizen Police Advisory Review Board (CPARB) for four years beginning in 2011, first as a non-voting advisory member, then a regular member, then the vice-chair, and the chair.
As a member of CPARB, I learned a lot about the Tucson Police Department (TPD) — its successes, and its needs. I learned about the Chain of Command, the disciplinary matrix, and what it was like to be on duty (Board Members were required to participate in two ride-alongs per year).
I learned about the equipment, the resources, and the facilities.
I learned that the Department is understaffed and overworked.
This was all significant to me becaue I had personal experiences with TPD — both positive, and negative.
As a volunteer member of the Board (all members are volunteers), I reviewed an average of three closed internal review cases per month (selected by the Chairperson of the Board), attended monthly meetings, participated in ride-alongs, and monthly dialogues with a senior member of TPD.
Because of my personal beliefs that there should be increased transparency, I identified additional ways to let members of the Community know about meetings, and the existence of the Board, by creating a Pro-active Outreach Possibilities (or “POP”) sub-committee.
I also worked to have reports included on the CPARB website, and ensured the website was updated with current contact information.
And I worked to educate community members about the importance of providing compliments and complaints to TPD.
As an educator of 25 years, who uses restorative practices and continuous improvement strategies and techniques I believe it is important to thank and compliment others, and also to follow processes for developing new habits for unsafe behaviors.
My hope is for the following:
1. The Citizen Police Academy returns and is available to the public;
2. Increased involvement and relationship building between officers and the community;
3. Increased use of the online compliments and complaints system;
4. Increased and continuous transparency of TPD;
5 Understanding that TPD is a piece of the puzzle for a happier, healthier, safer community, and work towards making it so.