City Manager Ruffin Hall discussed the matter with council members during Tuesday afternoon's City Council Meeting, noting they will focus on three key components:
- Comprehensive review of RPD Policy and Procedures
- Evaluation of RPD's specific response to protest for any gaps or inconsistencies
- Preparation of a written report detailing findings and recommendations
21CP Solutions, based in Chicago, is made up of former police chiefs, lawyers, social scientists and academics.
This review is in addition to an internal review being conducted by Raleigh Police Department, which Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown discussed in further detail during the city council meeting.
"The Raleigh Police Department will continue to evaluate the events of the past several weeks, and further evaluate use of force tactics, the deployment of chemical agents to include but not limited to tear gas," said Deck-Brown, who also emphasized the importance of training.
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The firm will also look at outside agencies who responded to the protests in Raleigh.
In response to a question from council member David Cox, Hall said he expected 21CP Solutions to break down their methodology to city council. The firm will report directly to the City Manager's Office.
In response to a separate question from Council Member Nicole Stewart, Hall noted that the recently-approved budget did not include a line item for tear gas.
Council Member Saige Martin shared some reservations about the selection of 21CP Solutions.
"Of the 24 people they have on staff, it looks like only five are not former chiefs of police or associated with a police association," Martin said. "And so I just want to flout that calling them 'completely independent' is a bit of a stretch. I know that our goal is to bring in something that is fair and accurate of an assessment, and that's what people want. And I think this is taking it a step further from it just being an internal review and report, and I think that's good. But I don't think this is truly independent."
Martin also said it was 'disappointing' that the city manager's office did not find a different consulting firm for the report.
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On the other hand, council member Corey Branch commended the experience of the firm's members.
"I just want to thank (Chief Deck-Brown) and the City Manager for their work. One thing I noticed in being an engineer is whenever engineers needed something to review, you bring in someone that has the expertise and the skill-set to intelligently review it. So I thank you for your work in finding a company that is demographically-diverse as well. And also they have the experience of working with people of color," Branch said, adding he looked forward to their outreach directly to the community.
Hall anticipates 21CP Solutions will complete their work by the end of September. The review is expected to cost $87,500, though that amount could be increased if the scope of the review needed to be changed. Funding for the review will come from RPD's budget.