Fresno has a police auditor, officially called the Office of Independent Review. At CCCJC, our question is: “Who Audits the Auditor?” Our answer to the question is that nobody will audit the auditor unless we step in to do so. That is a role we have been striving to fill ever since the first auditor was hired in 2009.
That first auditor was Eddie Aubrey, who held the position from 2009-2011. CCCJC met regularly with Aubrey and constantly urged him to stand up to the Fresno Police Department (FPD) and see what could be done to improve it. His tenure was short, but he did make some significant recommendations.
Aubrey was followed in 2012 by Rick Rasmussen who held the position for the next five years. We met with Rasmussen on a regular basis as well, and he came to regard us as an unofficial community oversight board. We asked him a lot of tough questions. He never flinched and always gave us straight answers. He was critical of many FPD practices and made quite a few recommendations that ended up being adopted. He focused a lot on officer involved shootings (OIS). During his tenure there was a significant reduction in the number of OIS and also the number of shots fired during OIS was dramatically reduced. That came about in part because of changes in police training that Rasmussen had recommended. We supported Rasmussen in those efforts, while continuing to push him to look into other areas of potential police misconduct. We were trying to be the conscience of the community, continually nagging at him. We saw that as our role.
The current police auditor, John Gliatta, started in 2017. The CCCJC is meeting with Gliatta on a quarterly basis. Sometimes we make him uncomfortable, but we see that as our role. Someone has to hold the auditor’s feet to the fire, and we are the ones with the experience to do that.
So who audits the auditor? We do. And with your support we will continue in that role as time goes by and as serious policing issues come up, as indeed they are want to do. We are a low budget operation, but we do have some expenses. We do try to participate in the annual conferences of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE). There we learn what other communities are doing to keep tabs on their police departments and get new ideas for how to improve oversight in Fresno. The national conference, which includes travel to distant locations, nearly breaks our small budget, but we see it as essential to our work.
Please help if you can. You can be assured that any donations will be put to good use.