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Council Authorizes $700,000 Contract for Inspector General for Police Oversight Commission

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By Lookout Staff

October 15, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday voted to authorize a five-year $700,000 contract with the OIR Group to serve as Inspector General for the newly formed police oversight commission.

The consulting firm -- which produced a report on the Police Department's response to the May 31, 2019 riots -- will provide the Commission with information needed to conduct investigations and develop recommendations, City staff said.

"A key consideration when structuring a police commission is how to grant the Commission access to the information that they need to make their work impactful without compromising law enforcement or personnel information," staff wrote in its report to the Council.

"The Inspector General can play this role as an independent entity with the ability to view internal documents and provide data at the appropriate level to the Commission."

To fulfill its role, the OIR group will be given access to data and records "regarding uses of force, stops, arrest, convictions, and such other matters as the Commission may request, to the extent permitted by State and Federal law," staff said.

The OIR Group was the sole bidder for the contract, which was granted "based on their experience and familiarity with the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD)."

The OIR Group's 117-page Independent After-Action Report submitted to the Council in May provides an inside look at the developments that culminated in SMPD's failed response to the protests, riots and looting that erupted in Santa Monica.

The report harshly criticized the Department for being woefully unprepared and lacking an action plan or clear leadership, leaving officers to improvise a response to violence they should have seen coming ("Report Harshly Criticizes Police Response to May 31 Riots, Chronicles Department in "Disarray," May 6, 2021).

The report also made recommendations that included increasing greater transparency for outside reviews, developing an operations plan and written protocols in advance and ensuring that key personnel remain in the City during potentially volatile events.

On Thursday, the Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission (PSROC) failed to approve its draft report regarding the OIR Group's findings when it fell one vote short of the majority vote needed ("Police Reform Commission Fails to Approve Report," October 15, 2021).

Commission Chair George Brown on Friday morning submitted the unapproved report to the Council saying that it "reflects the Chair's intended plan for the direction of the Commission."

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