For the first time since the agency’s inception the PAB attended the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) conference. Three Board members were joined by staff and representatives from the PABA. The conference is an opportunity to learn more about civilian oversight trends, and what other agencies and cities are doing to make it work.
Ian, a PAB Case Manager, tells us why he enjoyed NACOLE 2023 in a Q & A.
What made you excited to attend the NACOLE Conference?
“I have been interested in our agency’s progress and model through the lens of a broader national conversation since starting at the PAB and reading papers and reports from NACOLE about different models and effective practices of civilian oversight of law enforcement.”
Who is someone you met or watched speak that made an impact on your experience and why?
“I had the opportunity to listen to a panel discussion hosted by representatives from each of the civilian agencies involved in police oversight in the city of Chicago. Their democratic, transparent, and cooperative model provides a great example of how to build a lasting oversight structure that directly involves the community it is meant to serve.”
What is something you took away from the experience that you want to share?
“I was motivated to learn that many of the challenges we have faced are similar to those being faced by oversight agencies across the country. There are existing resources we can reference and individuals who have done this work who are willing to help us achieve our goals.”
What is something you will be taking back to the PAB?
“I hope to improve my contributions to this agency through my work with a better-informed perspective of civilian oversight in general, as well as with knowledge of specific practices that have had varying degrees of success at other agencies in the past. I also hope to build on the relationships that I made with practitioners from across the country and seize the opportunity to have more frequent interagency conversations.”
What is something you want the people of Rochester to know about the state of Civilian Oversight in the U.S. right now?
“Civilian oversight of law enforcement is at a turning point in the United States. Many of the principles that have been put into practice across the world are beginning to take hold here, and this conference was the best attended one in the 29 years of its existence. Given our powers as outlined in the city charter and the level of energy that exists nationwide at this point in history, the PAB is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this evolution and provide a roadmap for future civilian-led agencies conducting independent investigations into police misconduct.”
“The first NACOLE conference attended by staff, board members, and members of the PAB Alliance was a resounding success. Besides the new perspectives and relationships gained by all of us who attended, we consistently heard a clear message from our counterparts from across the country: We support you. The level of interest in our agency from the oversight community in the entire US was validating and motivating, to say the least. We will continue to fight for the mission that the community asked us to uphold when we were voted into existence, and work within our community and the national oversight community to uphold democracy, transparency, and accountability.”