The police chief in Chesapeake, Virginia is retiring. Probably for the better, given this bit from the article:
He helped create six community advisory groups but stopped short of citizen oversight, which would have allowed citizens to investigate policy and complaints.
That did not sit well with the Chesapeake chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. March Cromuel Jr., president of the chapter at the time, said he believed oversight would build community trust.
“I would like to see cameras in all police cars and a citizen review board before he leaves,” Cromuel said.
Justice opposed it, and still does. “At any time, a complaint can be lodged against us that can bring in the state police, the FBI. The department is open. We don’t operate in any clandestine fashion now. We can’t have citizen groups running a police department,” he said.
Never mind that the police department actually works for the citizens. So no cameras in patrol cars, and no citizen review boards.
And I’d beg to differ about Chesapeake PD not operating in a “clandestine fashion.” A few weeks ago, based on a tip from some people I spoke with during my visit to Chesapeake, I filed an open records request asking for any internal investigations of “wrong door” raids conducted by Chesapeake PD. I also asked for any complaints filed against Det. Shivers. My interest is to see if there’s a pattern of the department’s narcotics officers taking shortcuts, and conducting forced entries raids without doing the appropriate corroborating investigation, as certainly seems to be the case in the raid on Ryan Frederick’s home.
I was told that all personnel matters at the department are confidential. All complaints against individual officers are confidential, all internal investigation into officers misconduct are confidential, and any records of internal investigation into mistaken or botched narcotics raids are confidential. It’s all confidential. Not only that, but that confidentiality follows an officer to the grave. And it applies even in cases like Ryan Frederick’s, where the suspect is facing life in prison or the death penalty, and where the case boils down to weighing the suspect’s credibility against that of the police officers who raided his home. All confidential.
It’s probably good for Chesapeake that this guy is retiring. And even better that the city manager has ordered a top-down review of police department procedures.