August 15, 2015
To our supporters and friends:
There are some exciting developments the CCCJC would like to share with you regarding police oversight in Fresno. Our group was instrumental in the City hiring Rick Rasmussen, our police Auditor. Changes in the Police Department since his arrival have been pretty dramatic. When he arrived in Fresno we were averaging one officer involved shooting per month. That number has dropped significantly to a rate of one or two OIS per year. Rasmussen has gained more prominence within the City government in the last few months and has been given an assistant to help him carry out a new mission.
The assistant is Mark Scharman, who has been given the title of Director of Internal Audits. Scharman, who has 28 years of law enforcement experience, is charged with carrying out an independent department-wide inspection process. The idea is to have a fresh set of eyes from outside the department review all the procedures, top to bottom. This new position was created based on the recommendation of Rasmussen in response to the Keith Foster affair.
Meanwhile, the CCCJC continues to distribute large numbers of our handbook, “A Student’s Guide to Police Practice,” which gives young people invaluable advice about what their rights are and about how to interact with the police. The handbooks are being distributed in schools, neighborhood centers and through community groups.
Last fall we sent one of our board members to the annual conference of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), and she was able to return with much valuable information to help us with our work in Fresno.
We feel we are doing an effective job in making sure there is proper oversight of the FPD and in improving police/community relations. To continue to carry out this work we need to ask you for financial support once in a while. The last time we asked for your support was at the end of 2013. We have exhausted the funds that you gave to us at that time, so we need to ask for your help again. Please give generously and return in the enclosed envelope.
Thank you for your support.