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Alexandria to interview auditor/investigator candidates for Community Policing Review Board

Alexandria will start interviewing candidates next month to independently review allegations of police misconduct, according to City Manager Jim Parajon.

It’s been more than five months since the Alexandria Community Policing Review Board started meeting to provide oversight of the Alexandria Police Department. The seven-person Board was appointed by City Council last year, started meeting in January, and is still developing its bylaws.

It’s also been nearly a year since Council’s order to form the group went into effect — on July 1, 2021.

The Board is unable to function properly, however, without hiring an independent auditor/investigator to hire staff, conduct investigations and coordinate the Board’s administrative functions.

“We will be conducting interviews for prospective candidates later in July,” City Manager Jim Parajon told ALXnow. “This is an important and somewhat unique position, and our search firm has been seeking the best candidates for the past couple months and now we are moving to the next phase which is the interview process.”

The City is using recruitment firm POLIHIRE to find auditor candidates. This is the same recruitment firm that was used to hire Parajon as City Manager late last year.

The job pays between $106,845 and $193,631, according to POLIHIRE. The job announcement was posted on the site on April 7.

Additionally, the Board is not posting videos of its public meetings, although the City ordinance establishing it states: “All public meetings of the Board shall be videotaped and made available to the public on the City’s website.”

The Board was approved by Council in response to social unrest from the May 2020 murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. After the murder, former Alexandra Police Chief Mike Brown and APD officers participated in protests around the city calling for racial accountability in policing.

The creation of the board also received pushback from police during the approval process.

A June 22 meeting establishing the bylaws for the group was canceled, and the next Board meeting is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6, in City Hall’s Sister City Conference Room.

The full job posting for the position is below the jump.

In June 2020, the Alexandria City Council adopted Resolution 2950, which condemned police brutality and systemic racism, reaffirmed that Black Lives Matter, and stated Council’s intent to establish a community policing review board in Alexandria.

In April 2021, the Alexandria City Council adopted an enabling ordinance for a Community Policing Review Board (CPRB), to serve a community committed to racial justice and equitable policing. The CPRB is being organized concurrent with the hiring of the Independent Policing Auditor and, with the support of the Auditor, will enhance policing legitimacy and increase and maintain trust between and among the Police Department, City Council, City Manager, and the public.

The CPRB will: provide timely, fair and objective review, investigation and evaluation of policing policies, practices, procedures, and outcomes in Alexandria; provide meaningful assessments and corrective recommendations intended to remedy discriminatory practices, including racial and social inequities, that it may find; ensure the protection of all communities through recommended actions and reform, including in the criminal justice system; and recommend strategies for effectively implementing these reforms in our community.

The CPRB will have investigative authority, including subpoena power, and is charged with receiving and investigating complaints from the community regarding policing in Alexandria; reviewing Alexandria Police Department investigation of certain incidents and complaints; conducting independent investigations of more serious incidents, specifically incidents resulting in death, use of force incidents, and severe misconduct; and considering and making recommendations on policing practices, policies, and procedures.

Independent Policing Auditor

This new, high-visibility position is characterized by the Independent Policing Auditor’s ability to provide fair and objective oversight and implementation of the work of the Community Policing Review Board, establish and build credibility among diverse audiences, and enhance transparency and instill public confidence in the policing review system and processes. The responsibilities of the Independent Policing Auditor are broad in scope and require the highest degree of professional, independent judgment, personal integrity, and accountability. The auditor performs work that is highly complex, and often involves issues that are sensitive and confidential.

The Independent Policing Auditor is charged with fulfilling the purpose and scope of the CPRB by providing functional support to the new CPRB in its aim to implement objective and independent civilian-led oversight of policing in the City of Alexandria. The Auditor will be responsible for the independent review of APD’s current and proposed policing practices, rules, policies, procedures, directives, and outcomes; performing a quality assurance function with the goal of identifying systematic changes that will improve police services to the community; examining systemic patterns in complaints, incidents, conduct, policies, procedures, and outcomes in policing in Alexandria; and conducting independent investigations of incidents as authorized by the ordinance.

The Auditor will work with the CPRB to enhance transparency and trust, to promote fair and effective policing, and to protect the civil and constitutional rights of citizens, including marginalized groups and those disproportionately affected by policing in Alexandria. This position is appointed by the seven-member Alexandria City Council and reports directly to Council.

Essential Responsibilities and Duties

Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Provides functional support to the Community Policing Review Board (CPRB), including assisting the Board in achieving its purpose and in carrying out its scope.
  • Provides support to the CPRB in developing and implementing its own bylaws, administrative systems, and operating policies and procedures.
  • Supports the CPRB’s efforts to promote transparency and to foster community relationships with the APD, including community outreach programs and engagement with groups subject to disproportionate impacts of policing.
  • Communicates CPRB’s mission, procedures, and processes and the role of the Independent Policing Auditor to the public.
  • Develops and implements procedures for receiving, processing and investigating civilian complaints related to policing in Alexandria received by the CPRB, including a case tracking system and public reporting mechanism.
  • Assists the CPRB in developing and implementing procedures for reviewing internal investigations of specific incidents of police misconduct as authorized by ordinance.
  • Reviews completed investigations by the APD Office of External Affairs and Professional Responsibility, including any disciplinary actions taken that may arise as a result of investigations conducted by the APD.
  • Provides independent review of APD current or proposed policing practices, rules, policies, procedures, directives and outcomes and presents findings of such reviews and any resulting recommendations to the CPRB.
  • Conducts investigations of specific policing incidents as authorized by ordinance, specifically incidents resulting in death, use of force incidents, and severe misconduct as defined by ordinance.
  • Reports to the CPRB regarding progress of ongoing complaint investigations.
  • Serves as liaison between the CPRB and its stakeholders, including the APD, City Council, and the public.
  • Identifies and coordinates required trainings for CPRB member participation as required by ordinance.
  • Audits patterns of citizen complaints, police encounters, and investigations conducted by the APD Office of External Affairs and Professional Responsibility.
  • Provides or presents reports to the CPRB, city management and/or before City Council. Secures and maintains confidentiality of information, records, and files.
  • Keeps up to date on legislation, court cases, grievance procedures, and legal opinions relevant to the work of the CPRB.
  • Has the authority to hire, supervise, evaluate and make employment decisions regarding the Independent Policing Auditor staff within the scope of the approved City Budget, existing City Human Resources systems and City Administrative Regulations.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in a field related to public administration, police oversight, criminal justice, or law. This includes degrees in social work, conflict resolution, translational leadership, restorative justice, or other disciplines relevant to civilian oversight. A Master’s Degree or Juris Doctorate is highly preferred.

Minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in fields related to criminal justice, social justice, or public administration or in the practice of law, preferably in the public sector. Experience in mediation, restorative justice, or other alternatives to adversarial proceedings is desirable. Experience in civil, criminal, or factual investigations which involve the gathering, analyzing, and evaluating of evidence is also desirable.

The applicant should possess demonstrated leadership ability, and have a reputation for fairness, integrity, and responsibility. He or she should have the ability to work collaboratively with the CPRB, City Council, City Manager, Police Chief, City Attorney, Commonwealth’s Attorney, and others, addressing conflicts with tact and diplomacy in the face of conflicting priorities and differing opinions. We seek a person who is willing to engage in proactive discussion with all segments of an active citizenry and highly participative community and who has the ability to bridge community and institutional concerns around issues related to transparency, equity and justice.

The applicant should have knowledge of:

  • Federal, state, and local laws and ordinances pertaining to civilian oversight of law enforcement, and applicable principles and practices;
  • Federal, state, and local laws pertaining to civil rights, an individual’s right to privacy, and confidentiality of records;
  • general legal principals and statutory law, including knowledge of employer-employee hearing and administrative procedures;
  • principles, practice and procedures related to conducting investigations and administrative hearings, including rules of evidence and due process; and
  • police administration and organization, and the rules, laws, and regulations thereof.

The applicant should have knowledge of and demonstrated experience with investigative techniques and procedures. They should have the ability to:

  • plan investigations and prioritize multiple tasks and meet required deadlines;
  • plan for and conduct detailed factual interviews with aggrieved individuals filing complaints, with friendly, neutral, and adverse witnesses, with police officers and managers, and with experts such as medical practitioners, law enforcement trainers, crime lab personnel, etc.;
  • conduct investigations of a highly confidential and sensitive nature; and
  • conduct investigations in an objective and independent manner, adhere to high standards of ethical conduct, and evaluate evidence and make findings without bias or concern for personal interest.

The applicant should have knowledge of methods and techniques of research, policy review, data analysis and evaluation, as well as principles and practices of public information and community relations. They should have the ability to:

  • understand, analyze, and explain statistical and technical information relating to law enforcement;
  • prepare and present technical reports and clear and concise procedural plans and documents;
  • solicit input and involvement from stakeholders and affected groups;
  • advise on policy recommendations;
  • effectively communicate both orally and in writing, including complex or difficult communication situations;
  • establish effective working relationships with management, city officials, the CPRB, city employees, and the general public;
  • motivate and empower volunteer members of the CPRB.

Salary and Benefits

The salary range is from $106,845 to $193,631, which is commensurate with the current salary range of City department heads.  The salary offered will be commensurate with experience.  The City offers a wide range of benefits to its employees which also will be made available to the person appointed to this position.

The City of Alexandria has partnered with POLIHIRE to lead the search for the  Independent Policing Auditor. To apply, please send a resume and cover letter outlining your relevant experience to: [email protected] Please only include your (Last name, First name) in the subject line.

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