Loveland’s City Council will on Tuesday night consider a proposal by councilor and mayor pro tem Don Overcash to form an citizen commission that will make recommendations for addressing the “wounded trust” caused by the arrest of Karen Garner.
Overcash’s proposal differs from the motion made by councilor Andrea Samson the previous week for the council to look into creating a citizen group with the responsibility of overseeing disciplinary action against police officers.
In a motion emailed to the rest of the council and city staffers on Monday, Overcash suggests that the mayor, mayor pro tem and a consultant create an application that could be used to recruit 16 city residents who would make up the group.
While he said he was thinking of recommending one “highly-respected” candidate, adding when asked that the person does not have a law enforcement background, he declined to name that person.
“The purpose of this commission is to understand the various issues impacting community trust, beginning with the Loveland Police Department, but not limited to that department,” Overcash wrote in his motion. “The expectations are for The Ad-Hoc Community Trust Commission to develop action steps that the City and City Council can implement to restore and strengthen trust between citizens and its municipal government.”
The group would provide quarterly updates to the council before presenting a list of recommendations, which could include policy changes, in September 2022.
Overcash estimated it will take “a few months” for the commission to be established and said he wants to ensure Loveland doesn’t make “hasty decisions with limited information,” blaming ongoing violent protests in cities such as Portland on their handling of calls for police reform.
When asked to comment on the behavior shown in the body-worn camera and surveillance footage released by Garner’s attorney, Overcash demurred but said he had concerns about how the details of the 73-year-old’s arrest were communicated within the police department and shared with the council.
“Obviously, the process broke somewhere, the review process and the reporting process,” he said. “I think we all have concerns about the incident.”
When presented with statements from City Manager Steve Adams, who said on April 27 that he found the behavior of officers in the second video “deeply troubling and not reflective of the values of our organization’s staff,” and police chief Bob Ticer, who said it “hurt (him) personally” to watch the video of the arrest, Overcash said he has “agreed with everything they’ve said so far.”
“I’m just trying not to throw more fuel on the fire,” Overcash said. “What it might do to this community is what I’m concerned about. I don’t want to make this a lasting negative impact. I want to find a way to move forward constructively.”
Overcash also said he believes the ad-hoc commission should first present its recommendations before the council votes on establishing the commission recommended by Samson.
“I believe the ad-hoc committee should get a firm understanding of the entire situation before that, and that’s my personal opinion,” he said. “I’m trying to take this out of the hands of the politicians.”
Discussion of the commission suggested by Samson had not been added to the council’s rolling calendar as of Monday night. Samson also said Monday night that she had not heard from city staffers about when it might return to the council.
Council members have talked about the arrest of Garner and related federal lawsuit twice — on April 20, when they were briefed publicly and behind closed doors by Ticer, and on April 27, when they debated the topic at length with Adams.
Also on Tuesday
Besides discussing Overcash’s motion, the council will also:
- Vote on a mid-year appropriation and reappropriation package for the city budget. New appropriations total about $3.25 million, including $277,530 from the city’s general fund.
- Review city and state rules on campaign finance topics such as contribution limits, reporting requirements and penalties for noncompliance.
- Vote on either setting the fee charged on permits to install water heaters at $100 or continuing to peg the fee to the cost of the installation. Staffers recommend the city continue charging a variable fee.
- Hear financial and investment reports for the month of March.
How to participate
Due to COVID-19 concerns, Tuesday’s City Council meeting is being held remotely via Zoom. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Members of the public who want to comment during the meeting may call 669-900-6833 any time after 5:45 p.m.
When prompted, callers should enter the meeting identification number, 975 3779 6504, followed by the passcode, 829866, when prompted and press the # key when asked for a participant ID.
Callers will be automatically muted and placed on hold. When a public comment period is announced, callers should press *9 and wait to be unmuted.
Comments may also be made by emailing acting city clerk Hannah Hill at [email protected] before 5:50 p.m. Tuesday. If requested by the sender, Hill will read the email into the record.
The meeting will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 16 and streamed through the city’s website at loveland.viebit.com.
The Zoom webinar will be accessible at zoom.us/j/97537796504?pwd=YUFXNTlDdXVVZnpjSlg1dDEwK1MrZz09. To make a video comment, Zoom attendees should use the “raise your hand” feature and wait to be unmuted.
Tuesday’s agenda packet can be viewed and printed at cilovelandco.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=992.
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