Policing the Police?

February 17, 2009 11:31:25 PM PST
Civil rights groups are turning up the heat on Fresno City leaders in their push for an independent police auditor. And an Exclusive New Action News Poll shows there is overwhelming support for one.These groups are hoping the recent publicity surrounding two police narcotics officers arrested and two other officers involved in hitting a homeless man will show the community the need for independent oversight.

Pressing for a police auditor became the hot topic Tuesday night at the ACLU meeting.

ACLU Representative Bill Simon said, "The City Council keeps saying nobody wants an IPA, nobody wants any of this stuff. So if everybody brings as much pressure to the City Council and Jacky Parks President of the Fresno Police Officer's Association, that seems to be the biggest stumbling point, it seems like we're getting there."

Those pushing for an auditor are hoping that even during tough economic times Mayor Ashley Swearengin doesn't waver in her support for one.

Lillian Koenig said, "I am one of those people that believe that if she is our mayor and she's been elected especially because she ran on that then she needs to go ahead and fulfill that promise."

An Exclusive Action News Poll Conducted by SurveyUSA shows that 84 percent of Fresno residents surveyed want a police auditor. 13 percent do not and 3 percent aren't sure.

Former Fresno City Councilman Brian Calhoun is blogging his opinion about a police auditor. He voted against it a handful of times. Even after two narcotics officers were arrested and two other officers used questionable force, he is still opposed to it.

"What would an IPA have done to prevent that nothing. Because those are incidents that happen shouldn't have happened and when they do they're being dealt with. An IPA doesn't stop things," said Calhoun.

Calhoun believes a police auditor will cost the city 300 to 500 thousand dollars a year. But many say no matter the cost, it's worth it to bring some oversight from a non biased third party.

Council President Cynthia Sterling and Blong Xiong are holding a press conference Wednesday morning. They are offering support for an auditor. Both have consistently supported one in the past.

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