Advise and consent
Police chief says he’d welcome a citizen advisory, not oversight board
By André Coleman 12/26/2013
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez told the Pasadena Weekly that he would support a citizen advisory committee, such as the one recently suggested by City Councilwoman Jacque Robinson.
“I have been talking with my staff about an advisory committee for two years,” said Sanchez, who took over as chief in 2010.
Sanchez has said he does not support a proposal by Councilman John Kennedy for the creation of a police oversight board, one with possible legal authority over the department. But he would welcome citizen advice on police-related issues.
“It has to have meaning and be purposeful,” Sanchez said of such a panel. “I have talked to my staff about what it would look like and who would be invited to the table and who it would be. Those are issues that need to be vetted. I am still in the process of doing that.”
Robinson’s idea comes on the heels of a Pasadena Weekly report which found the City Council’s four-member Public Safety Committee had canceled 44 scheduled meetings between 2010 and 2012. City Council members have said that they would not support a police oversight board like the one advocated by Kennedy because that is the function of the Public Safety Committee. Most of the missed meetings occurred under the chairmanship of Councilman Steve Madison. Robinson now chairs the committee, which did not miss a scheduled meeting in 2013.
Kennedy and Councilman Gene Masuda are the council’s other committee members.
On Dec. 16, Robinson said she supported an advisory committee to work with both the Police Department and the Public Safety Committee during and after public safety incidents that have a significant impact on the community.
“I did not say oversight,” Robinson clarified. “In short, I said, clearly there is a disconnect between the information that has flowed from the Police Department and Public Safety Committee and City Council. A citizen advisory committee — for lack of a better term — could provide an avenue for effective communication between the city and the chief and department on an ongoing basis, not just when there is an officer-involved shooting.
“At this point in time it is just an idea that I am open to,” said Robinson, who also serves in the largely ceremonial role of vice mayor. “I have not fully vetted nor suggested guidelines for membership or duties. It is an ongoing discussion for the coming weeks and months.”