CONTACT: Lindy Eichenbaum Lent
firstname.lastname@example.orgMayor Announces Citizen Oversight Board NomineesSeven Nominees Await City Council Confirmation
(DENVER) Mayor John Hickenlooper presented his seven nominees for the Citizen Oversight Board (COB) to the Denver City Council on Tuesday for confirmation. The nominees will appear before the City Council Safety Committee on Wednesday, December 15, 2004. Once seven nominees are confirmed, the board’s first duty will be to elect a chairperson who will also serve as the chair of the screening committee for the Independent Monitor.
“With nominees from all four quadrants of the city, this slate represents the entire community with diverse backgrounds, experiences and expertise, as well as unwavering commitment to making our community safer and stronger,” Hickenlooper said. “Between the Office of the Independent Monitor, citizen members of the Use of Force and Disciplinary Review Boards, the Manager of Safety’s active role, and this new Citizen Oversight Board, we have created a comprehensive system that will involve civilian eyes and voices in all aspects of law enforcement concerns. I am humbled that a group of this caliber is willing to devote their time and energy to our city.”
The Citizen Oversight Board was a key component of the enhanced civilian oversight system proposed by the Hickenlooper administration in August, approved by City Council in October, and ratified by voters on November 2, 2004. The formally structured citizen panel will have early-stage involvement in monitoring public safety issues, regular contact with the Independent Monitor and safety department heads, and opportunities to affect departmental operations. The COB will be responsible for assessing whether the Office of the Independent Monitor is effectively performing its duties, making recommendations regarding policy and training issues, and addressing issues of concern to the community and other interested stakeholders.
The Mayor’s seven COB nominees are the following:
Pastor Paul Burleson is the president-elect of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance. He founded Denver’s Friendship Baptist Church of Christ Jesus in 1974 and continues to serve as its pastor. He also spent 28 years as an engineer with U.S. West Communication and four years in the U.S. Air Force. A former dean of the United Theological Seminary’s Denver Extension, Burleson is experienced in the prevention, identification, and counseling of individuals and families with substance abuse and other at-risk behaviors.
Virginia “Gin” Butler is currently the interim executive director of the Curtis Park Community Center and most recently served as the deputy director of Small Business Programs for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Her other previous positions include partner and chief operating officer of Burks/Butler Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations; diversity consultant with the Spring Institute and Tucker International; and a 30-year employee of US West, where she served as director of production and was one of three authors of the nationally recognized Women of Color project, the first corporate plan to identify, develop and fully utilize the skills of women of color. Butler has served as the Vice-Chair of the Stapleton Development Corporation, the first female chair of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, the first African-American Colorado State Fair commissioner and currently serves on the boards of the Stapleton Foundation, the Curtis Park Community Center, and Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Rabbi Steven Foster is the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Emanuel, where he has served for nearly 35 years and founded “Stepping Stones,” a nationally recognized outreach program for interfaith families. He is a former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Colorado State Civil Rights Commission (which he chaired), the Denver District Attorney’s Advisory Committee, and a number of other secular and religious organizations. He currently serves on the boards of the National Conference of Justice and Peace, the Mile High United Way, the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, and the United Jewish Committees Rabbinic Cabinet.
E. Henry “Hank” Knoche served two tours of active duty in the Navy in World War II and Korea before joining the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1953, where he retired in 1977 after serving as Deputy CIA Director under President Gerald Ford and Acting Director under President Jimmy Carter. He received the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Service in 1977. A Denver resident since 1981, Knoche has served as president of his neighborhood homeowners association, as an appointed member of the Denver Cable Television Board, and as a leader of AARP’s Colorado legislative lobbying efforts.
David Montez is a research development coordinator at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. He previously worked as the events and publications director for UCD’s Latino/a Research and Policy Center and as an assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor. Montez has served on the Denver Public Safety Review Commission for the past year. He is a 2004 Leadership Denver graduate, a member of the Mayor’s GLBT Commission, an advisory council member of the El Futuro Hispanic Gay Community Center, and is active with the Human Rights Campaign’s Colorado chapter.
Cathy Reynolds served on Denver City Council for 28 years. She was the first woman elected City Council President, a position she held five times during her tenure, and she spent 25 years on the board of the Colorado Municipal League, serving as president twice. A past president of the National League of Cities, Reynolds currently serves on the board of the Convention Center Hotel Authority and Phoenix Concept, which provides mental health and substance abuse services.
Professor Joseph G. Sandoval is chair of the criminal justice and criminology department at Metropolitan State College of Denver, where he has worked since 1973. He previously spent six years as an officer with the Arvada Police Department. A licensed attorney, Sandoval served on the Mayor’s Police Reform Task Force earlier this year. He is a former chair of the Denver Public Safety Review Commission, where he served eight years, and has served on the board of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement. He has given presentations across the country on the subjects of civilian oversight, racial profiling, community interaction with police, and the legal issues surrounding law enforcement.
* * *
The Citizen Oversight Board (COB) will replace the currently existing Public Safety Review Commission (PSRC), which will sunset in May 2005, 180 calendar days after the police reform-related changes to the City Charter were approved by Denver voters. Prior to the PSRC’s ceasing of operations, the City, in cooperation with the PSRC, will review the status of all matters that are still pending before the PSRC and determine appropriate ways to resolve or refer those matters.
The COB will meet at least bi-monthly with the Monitor and quarterly in public with the Manager of Safety, Chief of Police, and Undersheriff to discuss any issues of concern and to make policy-level recommendations for ways that the Police, Sheriff, and Fire Departments can improve their relationships with the citizens, as well as make recommendations regarding policies, rules, hiring, training, and the complaint process. The COB will also host at least three annual meetings for public comment in addition to meetings with citizens groups on an as-needed basis.
The COB will provide an annual public report to the Mayor and City Council, published concurrently with the Monitor’s report, (1) assessing the work of the Monitor, (2) describing the Citizen Oversight Board’s activities, (3) assessing the investigative and disciplinary processes of the public safety departments, (4) recommending ways to improve the safety departments’ relationships with citizens, and (5) recommending changes to policies, rules, hiring, training and complaint processes.
The criteria for COB eligibility, established by City Council ordinance, requires that members have the following qualifications:
- reflect the diversity of Denver, including the diverse professional backgrounds, experience, and expertise of the citizens of Denver;
- fairly represent the citizens of Denver and the Police, Sheriff, and Fire Departments;
- reside in the City and County of Denver;
- have the ability to provide unbiased input into the work of the Citizen Oversight Board;
- posses the highest standards of integrity;
- cannot be a current employee of the City and County of Denver;
- cannot have ever been employed by the Denver Police, Sheriff, or Fire Departments; and
- cannot have any immediate family members (defined as grandparents, parents, siblings, spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, and in-laws) who have ever been employed by the Denver Police, Sheriff, or Fire Departments.
# # #