Duane Roberts at the Anaheim Investigator has just published a story about OC Human Relations Director Rusty Kennedy offering to form a civilian review board for Fullerton and Anaheim. Mr. Roberts’ California Public Records Act request from the City of Anaheim was rewarded with an email sent from Mr. Kennedy to John Welter, then Anaheim’s Chief of Police, Dan Hughes, then Acting Chief of Police for Fullerton, and Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz. An excerpt of the October, 2012 email reads:
“John, Dan and Joe
….I am envisioning developing some type of Civilian Review Board (or alternative) process that we could offer in addition to our Police Community Reconciliation and Crisis Assistance Programs on contract with Fullerton and/or Anaheim, IF [sic] you are interested going forward.
Earlier this year The Anaheim Investigator noted that OC Human Relations acted as a client of the Anaheim Police Department following a pair of police shootings last summer. The suggestion that an organization paid by a police department should also act in the capacity of a review board of that same (or any) police department reveals either a complete misunderstanding of the need for independent oversight or a willingness to act in a palliative capacity in the place of a truly objective board.
The now retired Chief Welter’s noncommittal reply can be read later in the Anaheim Investigator’s story. We do not know what, if anything, Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz or Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes had to say about Mr. Kennedy’s idea, but we do hope that they, and the members of the Fullerton City Council, understand that a truly effective model of police oversight requires independence from law enforcement funding and personnel.