Police Review Blog

The Coalition for Police Review is an alliance dedicated to the implementation of genuine and effective police review processes for all law enforcement agencies operating in Humboldt County. It includes Redwood Chapter ACLU, Civil Liberties Monitoring Project, Human Rights Commission, Waterfront Greens and many more.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Arcata Police Review Act of 2006

The people of the City of Arcata do ordain as follows:


SECTION 1. Title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as “The Arcata Police Review Act of 2006.” This Act may also be cited as the “Act.”

SECTION 2. Findings and Declarations.

The people of the City of Arcata find and declare the following:

(A) The people of the State of California are protected in their inalienable rights by the provisions of the Constitutions of the United States and the State of California.

(B) The people of the City of Arcata reserve to themselves the right to set and review Police Department policies, practices and procedures and to provide a means for prompt, impartial and fair investigation of complaints brought by individuals against the Arcata Police Department.

(C) The Public Safety Element, codified in Chapter 6 of Arcata General Plan 2020, created the requirement concerning the establishment of a police review commission to provide a means for independent, prompt, and impartial investigation and mediation of complaints brought against the Arcata Police Department, and to set and review law enforcement policies, practices, and procedures.

(D) To date, the Arcata City Council has taken no action to implement the provisions of Policy PS-7d of the Arcata General Plan 2020.

(E) A Police Review Commission will facilitate improved communication and cooperation between the people of the City of Arcata and the Arcata Police Department.

(F) The people of the State of California reserve to themselves the right to enact municipal ordinances by direct affirmative vote in a regular or special election under, and within Division 9, Chapter 3 of the Elections Code.

SECTION 3. Purpose and Intent.

The people of the City of Arcata hereby enact “The Arcata Police Review Act of 2006” to provide for the establishment, powers, duties, composition and procedures of a Police Review Commission, to provide for community participation in reviewing Police Department policies, practices and procedures and to provide a means for prompt, impartial and fair investigation of complaints brought by individuals against the Arcata Police Department.

SECTION 4. Article 15 is added to Title II, Chapter 3 of the Arcata Municipal Code to read:


SEC. 2270. Purpose.

The general purpose of this article is to provide for community participation in setting and reviewing Police Department policies, practices and procedures and to provide a means for prompt, impartial and fair investigation of complaints brought by individuals against the Arcata Police Department.

SEC. 2271. Establishment. Number of members. Appointment procedure.

There is established a Police Review Commission of the City of Arcata. Said commission shall consist of seven (7) members. Four (4) members shall be determined by lot from the group of applicants who are part of at least one of the following constituencies: Low income, racial minority, sexual minority, college student, disabled. Council shall then appoint three (3) additional at-large members to the commission, attempting to include any unrepresented constituencies. All members shall be residents of the City of Arcata. No officer or employee of the City shall be appointed to the commission. No former police officer serving in the Arcata Police Department shall be appointed to the commission.

SEC. 2272. Term of Office. Term Limitation. Filling of Vacancies.

The term of each member shall be two years commencing on January 1 of each odd numbered year and ending on December 31 of each succeeding even numbered year. No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms. Any vacancy occurring during the term of any member shall be filled by an appointment by the Council.

SEC. 2273. Appointment Terminated Automatically When. Temporary Vacancies. Procedures. Removal.

The appointment of any member of the commission who has been absent and not excused from three consecutive regular or special meetings shall automatically expired effective on the date the fact of such absence is reported by the commission to the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall notify any member whose appointment has automatically terminated and report to the City Council that a vacancy exists on the commission and that an appointment should be made for the length of the unexpired term. A member of the commission may be granted a leave of absence not to exceed three months, and a temporary vacancy shall thereupon exist for the period of such leave of absence. During the period of such temporary vacancy, the Council may fill such a vacancy by a temporary appointment to said commission; provided, however, that the period of such temporary appointment shall not exceed the period of the temporary vacancy. At the expiration of a leave of absence so granted, the member shall automatically resume full and permanent membership on said commission. Any member of the commission may be removed by a unanimous vote of the Council.

SEC. 2274. Officers. Succession of Officers.

The commission shall elect one of its members as Chairperson and one as Vice-Chairperson, who shall each hold office for one year and until their successors are elected. No officer shall be eligible to succeed himself or herself in the same office. Officers shall be elected no later than the second meeting of the commission following its appointment.

SEC. 2275. Secretary.

The City Manager or his/her designee shall serve as the Secretary to the Police Review Commission. The Secretary shall not be a member of the Police Review Commission.

SEC. 2276. Meetings.

A. The commission shall establish a regular time and place of meeting and shall meet regularly at least once every month or more frequently as workload requires. The regular place of meeting shall be in an appropriate central location in the City capable of accommodating at least fifty people, but shall not be held in the building in which the Police Department is located. At least once every three months, or more frequently if the commission desires, the commission may meet in other places and locations throughout the City for the purpose of encouraging interest and facilitating attendance by people in the various neighborhoods in the City at the meetings.

B. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or by two members of the commission, upon personal notice being given to all members or written notice being mailed to each member and received at least thirty-six hours prior to such meetings, unless such notice is waived in writing.

C. All commission meetings, and agendas for such meetings, shall be publicized in advance by notice given to newspapers, radio and television stations and Internet sites serving the City as are designated by the commission at least three days prior to regular meetings, and at the same time as members are notified of special meetings. In addition, notice of meetings shall be posted regularly on such bulletin boards and at such locations throughout the City as are designated by the commission.

D. All meetings shall be open to the public, unless the commission, in order to protect the rights and privacy of individuals, decides otherwise and if such closed meeting is not waived by the individual concerned. The commission shall cause to be kept a proper record of its proceedings. The records and files of the commission and its officers shall include, but not be limited to, all official correspondence, or copies thereof, to and from the commission and its members, gathered in their official capacities, and shall be kept and open for inspection by the public at reasonable times in the office of the secretary to the commission.

E. A majority of the appointed commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and the affirmative vote of a majority of those present is required to take any action.

F. The commission may appoint such subcommittees as are deemed necessary or desirable for the purposes of this chapter, provided, that membership on such subcommittees shall not be limited to the commission members but may include members of the public who express an interest in the business of the subcommittees. The members of such subcommittees shall serve without compensation.

SEC. 2277. Special Meetings – Petition Requirements.

On the petition of twenty or more citizens in the City, filed in the office of the secretary of the commission, the commission shall hold a special meeting in an appropriate and convenient location for the individuals so petitioning for the purpose of responding to the petition and hearing and inquiring into matters identified therein as the concern of the petitioners. Copies of the petition shall be filed by the commission with the City Clerk and the City Council. Notice of such meeting shall be given in the same manner as notice is given for other meetings of the commission. In no case shall the commission meet later than five working days following the date the petition is filed.

SEC. 2278. Powers and Duties.

The commission established by this chapter shall have the following powers and duties:

A. To advise and make recommendations to the public, the City Council, and the City Manager;

B. To review and make recommendations concerning all written and unwritten policies, practices and procedures of whatever kind and without limitation, in relation to the Arcata Police Department, other law enforcement agencies and intelligence and military agencies operating within the City, and law enforcement generally, such review and recommendation to extend to, but not be limited to, the following:

1. Treatment of rape victims,

2. Police relationship with minority, disabled and low income communities,

3. Police relationship with college students,

4. Use of weapons and equipment, including chemical agents,

5. Use of tactics,

6. Hiring and training,

7. Sanctions,

8. Priorities for policing and patrolling,

9. Other concerns as specified from time to time by the City Council;

C. To receive complaints directed against the Police Department and any of its officers and employees, and fully and completely investigate said complaints and make such recommendations and give such advice relating to departmental policies and procedures to the City Council and the City Manager in connection therewith as the commission in its discretion deems advisable; provided as follows:

1. That investigation of all complaints filed with the commission shall begin immediately after complaints are filed and proceed as expeditiously as possible,

2. That all such complaints filed with other offices, boards, bureaus and departments of the City, including the Police Department, shall be referred to the commission for investigation,

3. That regular quarterly reports relating to the number, kind and status of all such complaints shall be made by the commission to the public, the City Council, and the City Manager;

D. To the extent permissible by law, to exercise the power of subpoena;

E. To adopt rules and regulations and develop such procedures for its own activities and investigations as may be necessary and to publish and file same with the office of the City Clerk, and to do such other things not forbidden by law which are consistent with a broad interpretation of the ordinance codified in this chapter and its general purposes; and

F. To take testimony under oath.

SECTION 5. Inconsistent Legislation.

In the event that between March 8, 2006 and the effective date of this measure, legislation is enacted by the Arcata City Council or by the voters that is inconsistent with this Act, said legislation is void and repealed irrespective of the code in which it appears.

SECTION 6. Severability.

The provisions of this Act are severable. If any section or provision of this Act is determined to be illegal, invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision of the court shall not affect or invalidate any of the remaining sections or provisions of this Act. It is the express intent of the citizens of Arcata, California that this Act would have been adopted if such illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional section or provision had not been included.

SECTION 7. Effective Date.

This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2007.


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