Felicia Chew on The Community Law Enforcement Partnership Commission (CLEPC)

December 2018 Meeting of Community Law Enforcement Partnership Commission (photo from ADI)

The Community Law Enforcement Partnership Commission (CLEPC) was reestablished per the Pima County Board of Supervisor’s action on September 4, 2018. The purpose of the commission is to review and make recommendations to the Pima County Board of Supervisors on all Grants and Grant Applications received through the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

There has been recent discussion regarding the re-establishment of the Commission.  The re-establishment of the Commission was in response to the Stonegarden funding (which was perceived by some members of the community to increase the presence of “evil deputies”, which quite frankly is reminiscent of “Yellow Peril“).

Some thoughts regarding the Commission:

I. Commission Misses The Mark:
Having the ability to approve grants (as this Commission was apparently created to do) does not deal with the issues leading to the opposition to Stonegarden funds.  Some of the issues include:

(1) Negative interactions with deputies (including complaints of rudeness and profiling);
(2) Lack of transparency regarding the use of funds allocated to the Sheriff’s Department (resulting in distrust by community members).

II. Gaps In The Commission:
(1) The Commission does not have the power to address these issues, which may be why some members are frustrated;
(2) The Commission might be a better use of time if the Commission could also discuss the issues above, and make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors;
(3) The Board of Supervisors could look to Tucson’s Citizen Police Advisory Review Board (CPARB) as an example.

III. CPARB exists to:
(1) review the Office of Internal Affairs’ closed cases (specifically investigations that were opened as a result of complaints generated by the community regarding members of the Tucson Police Department)  for fairness and thoroughness.
(2) allow for TPD to provide transparency through updates regarding TPD business and presentations at the request of CPARB.

IV. CPARB Structure:
CPARB members include an appointee by each Council Member and COT Mayor, an Independent Police Auditor, an attorney from the City Attorney’s Office, four non-voting advisory members (interviewed by CPARB), and a staff member from the City Clerk’s Office.

V. Additional Information About CPARB:
(1) Link to CPARB official City of Tucson  website page;
(2) Felicia Chew’s reflections on CPARB;
(3) Facebook CPARB – Past Chair page (not City-sponsored).

In addition:
1. The Commission does not have the purview to address issues that Commissioner Garcia and others may want to address, because that is not the purpose of the Commission.

2. This Commission does not address the concerns regarding fear and mistrust (the reason for opposition to Stonegarden funds). Those concerns should be addressed, so they do not fester. It is the responsibility of the Board of Supervisors to form meaningful Commissions, and to give Power and Authority that have an ROI. An existing model is the City of Tucson’s Citizen Police Advisory Review Board.

3. Regarding complaints:  They are regarding rudeness and intimidation.  Some community members fear retaliation.

4. Does a new Commission need to be formed?  Not necessarily.  However it is the responsibility of the Board of Supervisors to create policies and Commissions that serve the public good.

5. Does the current Commission need to remain intact?  My concern is that the Commission is directed to meet 6 times a year.  I know that Grants have deadlines, and some are on a rolling basis.  It seems more appropriate that the Sheriff’s Department has a bulletin that announces the intent to apply for a grant (like the intent to apply for a liquor license), and community members have the opportunity to speak with the Sheriff’s Department with any concerns.  Community members then follow the process, and speak with their Supervisor, or Ombudsman if needed.

6. Evidence of this fear is available at: https://chewfortucson.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/felicia-chew-on-stonegarden-money/

7. It is necessary to remain diligent in supporting laws and policies that are just and equitable.  It is necessary to avoid the pitfalls of poorly formed policies, practices, and misallocated budgets and funding.  It is necessary to have concern with the misrepresentation of law enforcement officers.  It is necessary to have concern with the health and welfare of our entire community.

Therefore, it is necessary to have policies, processes, and budgets that address the issues of individuals and the community as a whole.

It only takes a drop of food coloring to color an entire bucket of untreated water.

P.S. Good news from 2017:
Complaints Against PCSD Personnel Down.  However, this does not address the complaints that are unspoken, due to fear, frustration, etc.

Learn more about Felicia’s campaign for a seat on the Pima County Board of Supervisors (2020) at: www.feliciachew.com

“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

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