CUCPJ Presents Changes to Complaint Process for Champaign Police Department

On Monday night, May 3, 2010, Durl Kruse delivered a proposal for revisions to the complaint process for the Champaign Police Department before the Champaign Human Relations Commission on behalf of CU Citizens for Peace and Justice. The document is a 12-step process to strengthen transparency in the the complaint process, which many have admitted is broken. Citizens who have gone to file complaints against the Champaign police are known to have been turned away, discouraged, yelled at, and delayed in recieving a response for months.

Members of a newly-formed working group were present at the HRC meeting. They include Mark Aber, Andre Arrington, Jamar Brown, Police Chief R.T. Finney, Sgt. David Griffet, Valerie McWilliams, Garth Minor, Deputy Chief Holly Nearing, and Steve Carter. Their areas identified for considering changes are: 1) making a complaint 2) offering mediation 3) reporting results and 4) educating and informing the public.

The working group plans to present their proposals before city council. Whether they would first be brought before the HRC at the next meeting on June 7 was not clarified.

 

Recommended Improvements
City of Champaign
Citizen/Police Complaint Process

1.    Amend current system by creating separate forms and procedures for public filing of police complaints and compliments.  They serve two distinctly different purposes and by including both in the same form and process cause undue confusion with the general public.

2.    Change the current title “Public Safety : Employee Conduct Form” to “Citizen / Police Complaint Form and Process” to improve clarity and specificity with the public.

3.    Provide at minimal two different physical locations to file a complaint such as the police station and city hall with a designated CPD Staff Officer and a designated HRC or city legal department staff person.  Each designated individual should be trained to recognize and support a citizen’s right to file a complaint without interference or personal discouragement.

4.    Upon completion of the complaint form, the citizen should immediately receive a signed and dated copy of the form before leaving the location where the complaint was filed.

5.    Recently filed complaints should be officially recorded and jointly reviewed by a designated CPD Command Officer and designated HRC or city legal department staff person.  As soon as possible, a joint follow-up conference should be scheduled with the complainant.  The purpose of the joint conference would be to review and clarify filed information, collect additional information as needed, and review with the complainant his/her options as to how to proceed. 

6.    Citizen/police mediation should be added as an option in the complaint process.  It would serve as a VOLUNTARY alternative to the internal investigatory process of the police department.

7.    Whether mediation or the internal investigatory process is selected, each process should be completed professionally and expeditiously within forty-five days.

8.    If unsatisfied with the disposition of either process, the appeal process should be expanded to include not only the City Manager, but also a non-city employee such as the chairperson of the HRC or a Civilian Police Review Board.

9.    A detailed report of all citizen/police complaints and their dispositions should be forwarded to the HRC each month.

10.    In compliance with Gekas vs. Williamson, written complaints, associated documentation and findings, as well as their disposition should be permanently stored in a legally compliant file during the duration of the officer’s employment with the city.  These records should be accessible to the public when properly requested as instructed by law.  This may be a file other than the officer’s personnel file. 

11.    An easy to read informational pamphlet should be produced by the city explaining the philosophy, purpose, and process for filing a police complaint.  Pamphlets should be distributed and placed in locations of public access such city hall, police station, libraries, and churches.

12.    The city citizen/police complaint website should be updated to reflect these changes.

These are great ideas.

These are great ideas! CPD compaint process is seriously flawed. I particularly like:

- Alternate location for filing complaint. City Hall is a good start, but I think it's not quite neutral. It would be nice if the alternate location was somewhere truly neutral.

- Signed copy of complaint: This is desperately needed. Right now, they make you sign a BLANK FORM and attest to the fact that the stuff that they WRITE IN LATER is correct. That's completely ridiculous. I still have a problem, though. I object to complaint being written by CPD. I think CPD needs to accept written complaints - complaints IN THE COMPLAINANT'S WORDS, not the words of the douchebag CPD officer who writes the complaint.

- I strongly agree that the appeal process needs to include people who are not in the Chief's poker circle. Having Carter review appeals is ridiculous Can you say "incest?"

- Complaint process is completely meaningless and worthless if it is not transparent. Complaints need to be easily accessible to the public. Right now, CPD doesn't even comply with the FOIA. CPD ignores the FOIA big time.

More needs to be done. But this is a good start. CPD totally lack checks and balances. They are a band of armed thugs with no oversight.

There needs to be some

There needs to be some transparency for the investigation process. I've filed a couple complaints which resulted in witness interviews by CPD. But CPD would not release anything about the interviews. They did, however, twist around witnesses' words.

For instance, a witness who unequivocally stated that Norbits was rude and abrasive (or something equivalent) was reported as being "unable to recall exact words used by the officer" and CPD used that to conclude that Norbits had not been rude and abrasive. Unbelievable? Outside Champaign: Yes. In Champaign: No.

Actually...

I can't imagine a place that WOULD take a complaint like that at face value.  I mean, DID the person remember Norbits's exact words?  If not, then I think that's pretty relevant to put down, don't you?

Because if you don't have his exact words, then how would you even go about investigating a complaint like that?  I can just imagine how that would go:

"So, it says here that Norbits was being 'abrasive'."

"OK.  So what did he say that was so bad?"

"Doesn't say.  He was just being... you know.  Abrasive."

"I see.  Well, let's ask Norbits.  Norbits, were you being abrasive?"

"No."

"I see.  That concludes this investigation."

See, it's not necessarily that they concluded that he WASN'T being abrasive.  You just really don't give them much to go on if you can't even tell them what he said.

Believe it or not, I can actually believe that the city might take you up on these suggestions.  They are fairly reasonable, for the most part. But before this happens, allow me to explain something to you about police departments and complaints.  Enjoy it, because it's something the city council isn't going to tell you.

See, the thing about being a police officer (or a judge or a lawyer, etc.) is that, when you do your job right, you piss a lot of people off.

Suppose a cop sees a guy going forty miles an hour through a school zone.  So he pulls the guy over and gives him a ticket.  This is what he's supposed to do, right?  OK.  Well, face it.  He could do it exactly by the book.  He could go out of his way to be polite.  It's not really going to matter.  The guy's STILL going to be pissed that he's getting a ticket.

Suppose a cop sees a guy breaking into a house and stops him.  That's the cop's job, isn't it?  Well, yes.  And the owner of the house is probably glad he did it, but the guy who was breaking into the house?  He's still pissed that he got caught and is going to be going to jail.

So you're pissed off that you got in trouble.  What do you do?  Well, it can't hurt to file a complaint.  Sure, it won't really do you any good, but it's not going to hurt anything either.  And who knows?  Maybe it'll get him denied a promotion or something down the line.  That'll show him!  But if he didn't actually do anything wrong?  Well.  You can always say he was being rude and abrasive.  How can he prove that he wasn't?

Now, police departments all over the place must understand that there are groups of people who have nothing better to do all day than file nuisance complaints against the police.  Coincidentally, these types of people tend to have a lot more interactions with the police than the average person (Go figure!).  What most towns DON'T have is people and organizations who encourage people to file as many nuisance complaints as possible.  Heck, one guy (who of course shall remain nameless, though I'm sure everyone will know who it is) goes to pretty much every city council meeting, and from what I've been able to gather, seems to have filed more goofball complaints against the police in the past couple of years than I've had interactions with the police in my entire life.

Keep in mind, I'm not exactly saying that the people who file these dumb complaints are lying about finding the officer abrasive.  But just think about what it means.  Isn't abrasiveness kind of in the eye of the beholder?  Doesn't it just mean the guy rubbed you the wrong way?  And I'm sure he DID rub you the wrong way.  But why?  Was it anything he did wrong?  Or was it just because you didn't want him to give you a ticket?  Generally speaking, giving someone a traffic ticket is not the best way to make a good first impression.

You ever see that show "Parking Wars" on TV?  I can't count the number of times I've heard one of those parking cops get called all kinds of names by people who were getting tickets.  Most of the time, the cop hadn't even SAID anything.  But that doesn't mean that the guy didn't think the cop genuinely WAS being a creep or whatever he called him.  He really did think that.  He just didn't stop and think that maybe the guy was just doing his job.

So anyway.  Yes.  If an officer genuinely does beat you up or insult you or whatever, go ahead and file a complaint.  But if all you're going to say is that he was being "abrasive", and can't back it up with any concrete examples, don't expect anyone to take you too seriously.

Genuine Complaints v. Crying Wolf

It would be nice if a citizens review board were put in place. When I did some independent research on the topic, I found that a review board of trained citizens will often determine that officers have behaved both properly and professionally, when individuals file BS complaints.

We'll never know, will we,

We'll never know, will we, since the po-po's don't have a transparent complaint process. 

 

Kind of convenient for you, eh?

 

You should be ashamed of yourself for posting such trash on a message board. Go do something useful, like polish Finney's shoes.

CUCPJ forum Thursday night

Don't miss the CUCPJ forum on the Kiwane case, Thursday night at 7pm at the IMC!

Forum

Looking forward to it.

It's always nice to hear from

It's always nice to hear from the people at CPD - who clearly do not understand their role in society, which is to serve the citizens who pay their wages with professionalism.

CPD totally lack checks and

CPD totally lack checks and balances. They are a band of armed thugs with no oversight.

 

That's for sure. Hillbilly thugs.

See, the thing about being a

See, the thing about being a police officer (or a judge or a lawyer, etc.) is that, when you do your job right, you piss a lot of people off.

 

This is an EXCELLENT QUOTE. Is it the CPD motto? I think you might need to rethink the direction of the causality, though. Just because you are good at pissing people off doesn't mean you're doing your job. You're not. You are an incompetent boob, and you should go back to your job at Burger King.

Gee.. Barry has managed to

Gee.. Barry has managed to piss 50% of the American public off and yet many posters think that he is doing a great job.

"I can't imagine a place that

"I can't imagine a place that WOULD take a complaint like that at face value.  I mean, DID the person remember Norbits's exact words?  If not, then I think that's pretty relevant to put down, don't you??"

 

A person calls in a bank robbery. The po-po's arrive and ask the witness what color shirt the robber was wearing. He's sure there was a robbery, but he can't remember if the shirt was blue or purple. Po-po's stomp out angrily, concluding that no robbery occurred because the stupid witness doesn't remember the color of the robber's shirt.

 

Welcome to Champaign!

"Suppose a cop sees a guy

"Suppose a cop sees a guy breaking into a house and stops him.  That's the cop's job, isn't it?  Well, yes.  And the owner of the house is probably glad he did it, but the guy who was breaking into the house?  He's still pissed that he got caught and is going to be going to jail."

OH, BUT TOO BAD, HE'S DEAD BECAUSE THE HILLBILLY COP KILLED HIM...BY ACCIDENT, OF COURSE.

Ahh...the educated left. 

Ahh...the educated left.  They can only throw insults like hillbilly...nice.  Great job elevating this discussion.

"Ahh...the educated left. 

"Ahh...the educated left.  They can only throw insults like hillbilly...nice.  Great job elevating this discussion."

What term would you prefer we use to describe an ingorant buffoon in the setting of Central Illinois?

First of all, it doesn't

First of all, it doesn't fit.  There aren't any hills around here. 

Second - we aren't in Appalachia or the Ozarks.

Third - its "strongly stereotypical connotations, the term is frequently considered derogatory..."

 

I guess you need to go back and redo your posting with a more geographically appropriate stereotypical, derrogatory term for your to have the desired effect.

 

If you are going to act morally superior, you probably shouldn't use stereotypical, derrogatory terms also.  Kinda reduces any argument you might have to the level of only childish name calling.  If you persist with the childish name calling, I would argue that the cops would argue with "I am rubber, you are glue..."

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillbilly

 

"Hillbilly is a term referring to people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia and the Ozarks. Due to its strongly stereotypical connotations, the term is frequently considered derogatory, and so is usually offensive to those Americans of Ozark and Appalachian heritage. However, the term is also used in celebration of their culture by mountain people themselves. Such co-opting and neutralizing use is almost exclusively reserved for the mountain people themselves.Hillbilly is a term referring to people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia and the Ozarks. Due to its strongly stereotypical connotations, the term is frequently considered derogatory, and so is usually offensive to those Americans of Ozark and Appalachian heritage..."

To Be Fair

It's kind of unfair to hillbillies to make such comparisons.

 

Most hillbillies I know are good folks. Not so sure about CPD, since they seem quick to make excuses for unacceptable behavior.

"If you are going to act

"If you are going to act morally superior..."

 

I'm not acting.

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer