Mayor Faulconer needs a new citizen watchdog to keep an eye on police.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer is looking for a new executive director for San Diego’s much-maligned police review board. Two years ago the body, officially known as the Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices, came in for knocks by the county grand jury, which charged that it was rife with “prejudice, fear and intimidation,” and bullied into submission by the very cops it was intended to oversee. Then-acting chairman Jim Kaese complained that the jury did not consult him before it issued its report. He fired back: “A lack of time is the primary reason for member turnover, not intimidation.”
In their official response to the findings, boardmembers denied they had been customarily rowdy, at least not in public. “There is no lack of decorum among Board members in open session when members of the public are present. The CRB listens respectfully to all public comments and conducts its business in a straightforward manner. In the past, there have been times when a lack of decorum in closed sessions has occurred during discussion of individual cases. One member in particular was placed on probation for aggressive, argumentative, mean-spirited questioning and no longer serves on the Board.”
Danell Scarborough, executive director of the city’s Human Relations Commission, is currently doing double-duty as the review board’s chief executive. With Faulconer already believed to be eyeing higher office somewhere down the line, running a tight ship at the review board is said by insiders to be worth the so-far unspecified cost to taxpayers of hiring yet another hand to run it.
City hall cynics note that the mayor, whose election was backed by the San Diego Police Officers Association, is likely to give the labor group final veto power over the ultimate selection. According to the job notice posted on the city’s website, “the ideal candidate will have proven leadership qualities with the ability to build relationships of trust, respect, and credibility in the community. Often acting with a high level of independence, and visibility, the ability to build consensus, advocate for change, foster teamwork, and promote openness, fairness, and integrity is critical.”
Also helpful: “Well developed facilitation skills to help resolve differences between Board Members as well as between the Board and San Diego Police Department,” and “a high level of political acumen and ability to operate in an apolitical manner.” Résumés are due July 10.