Burbank’s City Council on Tuesday passed a ‘request (for) the Police Commission to meet once a month through the end of the year and direct the Police Department to develop a roadmap for community engagement with input from Council and the Commission at their Joint meeting on July 14, 2020.’
This was asked for the week prior by Council Member Gabel Luddy who requested a report to discuss convening monthly Police Commission meetings in light of the current tension in the country.
Burbank’s Police Commission has been watered down through the years since its inception in the early 1950’s when it was formed because of a wave of corruption of both the police department and elected officials. While the commission restored the department and the city, which gave the citizens stability and accountability, it started to lose its authority over the years and has been watered down.
In 2019, the Burbank Police Commission, which had seven members and met monthly, was scaled back to five members, and meetings were cut to quarterly by the Burbank City Council. Over the years the Commission has asked the Council for a greater role and increased power. Those members are no longer serving on the Commission.
All the Commission does at this point is receives reports from the Police Department and may ask questions. They have no decision making authority about personal, training, or equipment. They may only present recommendations.
On July 14, the Council and the Police Commission were already scheduled to have a joint meeting. One of the topics was going to be a report by the OIL Group, headed by Michael Gennaco, is an independent audit company that was brought in by Police Chief Scott LaChasse as part of the reforms he instituted in the department during his 10 years at the helm. The OIL Group is one of the most respected in the country. Ther most recent report can be seen HERE.
Under Chief LaChasse, the Burbank Police Department has worked hard to maintain accountability and full transparency to the public. Every aspect of the department’s training, its manual, and Strategic Plan can all be seen HERE.
According to a Staff Report presented to Council Members, it was suggested:
…a detailed review and discussion of the Department’s Use of Force Policy; the Department’s training curriculum specific to high risk incidents; the Department Discipline procedure/processes; review of departmental contemporary policies established over the past 10 years; community engagement, including town hall meetings and reaching out to different populations such as high school students, to help focus the dialogue, to suggest a few. Depending on the topics to be discussed, a representative from the City Attorney’s Office will be present. Following the meetings and outreach, the Commission could present a report with recommendations to the Council for review and consideration.
While the Council voted 5-0 to approve the monthly meetings for the remainder of the year, they have still given the Commission no new authority to act except to give the Council recommendations.