Chelsea Schedules Bobcat Work Session

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

At its November 15, 2021 meeting, the Chelsea City Council scheduled its next work session to discuss the Bobcat Police audit.

Recognizing that an open council seat may lead the Council to delay the work session until the position was filled, City Manager John Hanifan urged sooner rather than later.

“The initial tendency may be to defer this until there’s a new council member,” said Hanifan. “But I would suggest because this is a work session, and anyone interested in being a part of the Council could certainly listen in because these are public.”

Hanifan also felt it would keep the process moving forward because the anticipation is that the audit review will take multiple work sessions.

The operational audit came as the result of a recommendation by an independent investigation last winter of events that took place on Friday, July 31, 2020, between Chelsea police and protestors. The investigation was conducted by attorney Bruce Judge of Whistleblower Law Collaborative. His report was presented to the City Council at its February 1, 2021, meeting. Among other suggestions, Mr. Judge recommended an audit of police department standard operating procedures.

The City hired Bobcat Consulting out of Tallahassee, Florida, to conduct the audit. Unlike the Bruce Judge investigation, which focused on the events at the protest, Bobcat was contracted to examine the CPD’s operational policies.

In the report’s introduction, Bobcat explains, “Our overall approach examines policies, training, supervision and accountability. We employ a two-tiered evaluation process, first comparing policies and practices against generally accepted standard practices most often cited in the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Model Policies, and secondly against policies that we see in departments that are in substantial compliance with consent decree policy mandates or the standards created by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which are often deemed to reflect ‘best practices’ throughout the industry.”

The cost of the audit was $35,000.

The City Council voted to have the Bobcat work session on November 29, 2021, at 6:00 pm.

Photo: Doug Marrin

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