It could be several more months before Long Beach appoints a new director of police oversight that will be tasked with auditing patterns in policing and recommending systemic changes to the department now that the Citizens Police Complaint Commission has been dissolved.
Assistant City Manager Linda Tatum told the City Council’s Public Safety Committee Tuesday that the hope is to have a new police oversight director in place by the fall.
The city started a search for a director in February, but the council isn’t expected to be shown a job description for the new position until late May.
Once a director is hired by the City Council, the city will still have to hire additional staff that will work under them, and then the new seven members of the Police Oversight Commission would have to be appointed by the mayor.
The CPCC was an 11-member commission that had investigatory and subpoena power, but the new commission will serve more as a public-input gathering body that will make recommendations to the director for what they should track in terms of policing trends and other issues.
The CPCC had been the body that investigated community complaints against LBPD officers who were accused of wrongdoing, carrying out parallel investigations to the department’s Internal Affairs, and recommending discipline when it found allegations were upheld.
However, after the civil unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, city leaders pledged to overhaul the CPCC, which had been criticized for years for its inability to deliver the police accountability advocates believed it would.
Voters approved a new model in November, which will see the new director and a new Police Oversight Commission replace the CPCC.
Tatum told the committee that the city expects that all of the remaining cases filed with the CPCC, which is still meeting, will be closed by November.
All new complaints filed since the start of 2023 have been submitted to Internal Affairs, which will handle the investigations under the new model, with the police oversight director checking to ensure those investigations are timely, accurate and of good quality, Tatum said.