Conflict of Interest Into the Lion’s Den
posted by December 11 at 10:06 AMon
Last Thursday, news intern Brian Slodysko attended a police accountability forum, hosted by SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) and the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB).
One complaint that was repeatedly echoed on slog—other than the lack of publicity for the meeting—was the fact that the meeting, on police accountability, was held inside a police precinct.
From reading the comments on Slog, it appears a number of people may not have attended the meeting because it would have been like walking into the lion’s den. Well, I called up the OPA to ask what they were thinking.
“The west precinct meeting room was available,” says OPA Director Kathryn Olson.
“We have done community forums in a variety of public facilities [but] we’ve also done meetings in the precinct.” Olson says the OPA didn’t intend to alienate anyone when they signed up to use the West Precinct conference room. Besides, Olson says, visiting a precinct is a great opportunity! “I’d encourage people to go inside the precinct if they’ve never been inside a precinct,” she says.
The problem with that, as I told Olson, is that some people have been in a precinct—on the business end of things—and they’re probably not going to want to come back and visit. When I pointed out that only 4 people—not including media or city employees—attended the meeting, Olson attributed the low turnout to “huge traffic problems that evening.”
Olson says she wants to hear from people about where they’d like to see the meetings held. So, if you’ve got a recommendation or want to address anything else, you can email Olson here.