The Daily Californian Online

Reason For Complaint

By Senior Editorial Board
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Category: Opinion > Editorials

Someone has to make sure those who enforce the rules also follow them.

A report compiled by the UC Berkeley Police Review Board found that UCPD has not been following deadlines relating to complaints filed against the department itself. UCPD is required to investigate complaints at this final stage and relay these results within 45 days after the complaint is first filed. According to data from the 2009-10 report, the department failed to meet this deadline in all five cases that went to this last step of investigating the matters.

UCPD Chief Mitch Celaya said that staff cutbacks last August due to budget cuts left the department without the organizational resources it needed to keep up with complaints. While personnel shortages were certainly a setback for many departments across campus last academic year, this is no excuse for the departmental oversight - especially since not a single one of the updates for five cases were communicated back in time to those who filed complaints.

For all we know, UCPD could have made progress in their investigations without simply reporting back. Indeed, in one case the department finally relayed results back to a complainant over four months later. The unacceptable delays are potentially making UCPD look worse than it actually is when it comes to looking into complaints.

Even if no progress were made in the cases, it would have been far more favorable for the department to report back and exhibit transparency. Moreover, rules for UCPD have not been brought into compliance with the board's. It is imperative that they be updated, and it is worrisome that the department has not done a better job of reviewing its own guidelines.

It is also troubling that UCPD did not apologize for its oversight until the mistake was discovered outside of the department. We are pleased that the Police Review Board continues to do a thorough job of evaluating departmental proceedings and only wish its members compiled reports more often to instill better oversight and accountability.

In the meantime, UCPD should make sure that the order it strives to maintain on campus is mirrored by the internal workings of its own organization.

Article Link: