The goal of the Office of Independent Review (OIR) includes bridging the gap between law enforcement and citizens by holding the police department accountable and allowing transparency for questionable police conduct.
Internal Affairs (IA) is hardly an “independent review”; so Fresno’s city council and mayor established the OIR in 2009. We hope our police chief, who has brought national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) accreditation to our local force would hold his department to a higher standard.
If not, perhaps the role of the police chief should be questioned rather than the role of the auditor. The quarterly reports produced by the OIR (see http://www.fresno.gov/
default.htm) are based on data provided by Fresno Police Department and reveal that African-Americans and Hispanics are subject to more “field interviews” and “traffic stops” than their respective proportions in the population would predict.
For example, although African-Americans constitute only 7.7 percent of the population of Fresno, they represent 13.2 percent of the traffic stops and 24.4 percent of the field interviews by FPD, a statistically significant difference.
The OIR reports also include recommendations regarding policies and procedures that might improve the quality of police-community interactions. Show your support for Fresno’s OIR by signing an online petition at https://diy.rootsaction.org/
Carlene Merino, Fresno