Iris Jones Goes Public
The police contract describes Jones' citizen review panel as "purely advisory" and not subject to Open Meetings Act provisions -- but goes on to say the panel "shall accept input from the public on any case presented to it," in meetings that "shall be open to the public." Both del Llano and Sheffield say Jones has conducted several panel meetings without any public input, which they say conflicts with both the language and the spirit of the contract. Jones disagrees, saying the panel has only had one case "presented to it" as defined by the contract -- its October 2002 review of the Sophia King shooting, which featured a smattering of public input.
Since then, she said, the panel has met only to discuss cases at the request of the citizens bringing complaints, not to review cases (such as King's) brought to it by Jones herself. It is a small, yet distinct, difference, she says, designed to maintain the privacy of certain records, most notably Internal Affairs files and the names of both complainants and any aggrieved officers. But just to be sure, Jones is seeking clarification of the meeting provisions from city legal staff.
Meanwhile, Jones, Sheffield, and del Llano all appear to agree on one thing -- that the oversight provisions in the current "meet and confer" contract need to be revised when the pact, which expires in September, is renegotiated. "Obviously there are some things in that contract that need, very much, to be clarified," said Sheffield, "to give a clear indication of what people should be doing."