Listening sessions for police complaint commission reform to be held in the coming weeks

The first of two listening sessions for residents to give their input on the future of the Long Beach Citizens Police Complaint Commission is set for Sept. 16, the city announced in a memo posted Wednesday.

That session will be held on Zoom and the second meeting will be at Browning High School on Sept. 23. Both meetings are scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

How the CPCC could be reformed was one of the first things the City Council asked after the civil unrest that shook the city after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020.

The 11-person commission hears complaints lodged against city police officers but has no oversight over the department. The city manager has final authority over whether officers get disciplined and often overrules the commission’s decisions.

The commission has been scrutinized by community members and its founders for lacking actual power to discipline officers and the City Council has promised that a ballot measure could be presented to voters as early as next year.

It’s unclear what the timetable is for the City Council to consider placing an item on next year’s ballot; a  representative from the city manager’s office could not be immediately reached for comment. The city has previously said that a report is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Long Beach hired a consultant earlier this year to help with the process of improving the commission. Polis Solutions, formed by former police officers and largely dealing in deescalation training, was hired by the city and has since been joined by Change Integration, another consulting firm, which focuses on helping its clients make sure change initiatives are successfully executed.

Input from the listening sessions is expected to be combined with responses the city received through last year’s framework for reconciliation survey, which called for reforming the commission or abolishing it to make way for something with more teeth.

Residents wanting to tune into the Zoom meeting Thursday will have to register beforehand and can request interpretation in Spanish, Khmer or Tagalog if they require it.

Browning High School is located at 2120 Obispo Ave.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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