Adopted April 7, 1998
Amended September 28, 1999
These rules shall be known as the Rules and Operating Procedures (the “Rules”) for the City of Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board (the “Review Board”).
For purposes of these Rules, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below, except as may be otherwise expressly provided:
“Aggrieved Person” means any person who claims in an Informal Complaint or Citizen Complaint to have suffered harm, humiliation, injury, indignity or other damage as a result of the actions of a City of Pittsburgh Police Officer in the performance of his or her official duties, or in the exercise of peace officer authority.
“Chair” means the Chairperson of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board, or any other Member (as herein defined) acting in place of the Chairperson when the Chairperson is unable to preside.
“Chief of Police” means the Chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
“Citizen Complaint” means a complaint, signed under penalty of perjury, received from any person alleging any Misconduct with respect to a City of Pittsburgh Police Officer acting in the performance of his or her official duties or in the exercise of peace officer authority.
“City” means the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“Complainant” means any individual who files an Informal Complaint or Citizen Complaint (as herein defined).
“Consent Decree” means the Consent Decree between the United States and the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and Department of Public Safety, No. 97-0354 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 26, 1997).
“Executive Director” means the executive director of the City of Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board.
“Informal Complaint” means an unsigned complaint received from any person alleging improper or illegal conduct with respect to an officer of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police acting in the performance of his or her official duties or in the exercise of peace officer authority.
“Mayor” means the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“Member” means a member of the City of Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board.
“Misconduct” means any alleged improper or illegal act, omission or decision by an Officer (as herein defined) directly affecting the person or property of a natural person by reason of:
- A violation of any general, standing or special order or guideline of the Police Bureau or the Department of Public Safety;
- A violation of any federal law, state law or the Pittsburgh Code; or
- Any act otherwise evidencing improper or unbecoming conduct.
“Officer” means a sworn member of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
“OMI” means the Office of Municipal Investigation or a successor unit of the executive branch of the City of Pittsburgh charged with investigating Misconduct.
“Ordinance” means Article 6, Citizen Police Review Board, Chapter 661.00 et. seq., as recorded in Ordinance Book Volume 78, page 189 on August 15, 1997, approved by City Council and signed by Mayor Tom Murphy, as amended.
“Panel” means any three-member subcommittee of the Review Board selected by the Chair and authorized to conduct business of the Review Board. Two Members shall constitute a Quorum (as herein defined).
“Police” means the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police or a sworn officer thereof.
“Presiding Member” means the member of any Panel appointed by the Chair to preside at the business of that Panel.
“Quorum” means greater than fifty percent of the Members of the Review Board or Members of any Panel able to participate in a particular matter.
“Review Board” means the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board as nominated and appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance.
“Subject Officer” means a sworn officer of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police against whom a citizen has filed an Informal Complaint or Citizen Complaint alleging Misconduct or about whom an investigation is undertaken based upon the vote of a Quorum of the Review Board without the filing of an Informal Complaint or Citizen Complaint.
The purpose of these Rules is to set forth operating procedures for the City of Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board. Because it is paramount to the maintenance of public safety and public confidence in law enforcement that allegations of police misconduct be thoroughly investigated and evaluated by an independent board which shall reflect to the greatest extent possible the City’s diversity, this Review Board is created under Title Six of the Pittsburgh Code pursuant to Sections 228-230 of the City of Pittsburgh Home Rule Charter.
- Because it is important that Subject Officers be evaluated by a credible, independent investigative board, the Review Board shall strive to prevent future incidents of Misconduct and abuses of civil rights and to promote public confidence in law enforcement through the Review Board’s capacity to investigate, hold public hearings and evaluate allegations of Misconduct.
- To achieve this purpose, the Review Board shall receive, review, investigate and report on Citizen Complaints in accordance with these Rules. These Rules are intended to provide fair, impartial, independent and prompt investigation of Citizen Complaints in a manner which protects the public and Officers and enhances the relationship between the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the public it serves.
The legislation creating the Review Board, and these Rules, are not intended to violate any individual’s right against self-incrimination, particularly an Officer’s or Complainant’s, nor is the legislation or these Rules intended to violate any other rights of individuals protected under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its constitution and the laws of the United States of America and the Constitution. The legislation and these Rules shall be interpreted consistently with such principles.
- Nothing herein shall be interpreted to undermine the disciplinary authority of the Chief of Police in the exercise of his or her duties or to alter the executive authority of the Mayor or the legislative authority of City Council.
- These Rules are not intended to diminish the executive authority and obligation of the City to thoroughly investigate all Citizen Complaints.
- These Rules shall be adopted following notice and an opportunity for public comment. Thereafter, they may be amended by the Review Board with at least 30 days’ public notice and the provision of opportunity for comment at the meeting at which the Rules are to be amended.
- If any provision of these Rules (or any portion of any provision) or the application of any Rule (or any portion thereof) to any person or circumstance shall be held invalid, illegal or unenforceable in any respect by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity, illegality or unenforceability shall not affect any other Rule (or the remaining portion thereof) or the application of such Rule to any other persons or circumstances.
- In these Rules, unless the context otherwise clearly requires, references to the plural include the singular, the singular the plural, and the part the whole. Words shall be construed as masculine, feminine or neuter gender, according to the context and, unless indicated otherwise, use of the masculine shall include the feminine gender also.
662.00 AUTHORITY AND POWER
The Review Board shall receive and in the exercise of its discretion, may consider, investigate and make a determination regarding Citizen Complaints. These Rules provide for the impartial, independent and prompt investigation and disposition of Citizen Complaints in a manner which protects the public and the Subject Officer.
662.01 REVIEW BOARD CREATED
The Review Board has been established pursuant to Article Two, Section 228 of the Pittsburgh Home Rule Charter and the Ordinance.
662.02 UNBIASED REVIEW BOARD MEMBERS
The Review Board shall consider all Citizen Complaints in a fair and impartial manner. A Member who has a personal bias, prejudice, or the appearance thereof, in the resolution of any Citizen Complaint, shall not participate in consideration of the Citizen Complaint. Personal interest in the outcome of any Citizen Complaint does not include holding or manifesting any political or social attitude or belief, so long as such belief or attitude does not preclude objective consideration of a Citizen Complaint on its merits.
- Examples of personal bias include, but are not limited to:
- Familial relationship or friendship with parties material to the inquiry;
- Witnessing events material to the inquiry from a non-neutral perspective;
- Being a party to the inquiry;
- Financial interest in the outcome of the inquiry; and
- Holding a bias against a particular party that is sufficient to impair the Member’s impartiality.
- Challenge. The Complainant, the Subject Officer, any Member or the Executive Director may file a challenge for cause against a Member. The challenge must be filed with the Executive Director in writing within 10 working days of the point at which the individual filing the challenge becomes aware of potential bias or prejudice of the Member. The challenge must describe in detail the basis for the conflict of interest or bias.
- Procedure. When a challenge is filed, the Executive Director shall contact the challenged Member as soon as possible. If the Member agrees that the challenge is for good cause, or otherwise agrees, the Member shall remove himself or herself from the particular matter. If the challenged Member does not agree that the challenge is for good cause, the Chair shall poll the other Members, and if a Quorum agrees that the challenge is for good cause, the Chair shall notify the challenged Member and remove the Member from that matter. If a challenge to a Member is rejected under the above procedure and the Member serves, the written challenge and the Member’s written response, as well as official minutes of the meeting at which the matter was considered, shall be incorporated in the investigative file as part of the record of the Citizen Complaint.
- Should any Member be removed or remove himself or herself from consideration of a Citizen Complaint due to a challenge, or good cause, the Citizen Complaint shall proceed before a Quorum of the Review Board.
662.03 BUDGET AND STAFF
The expenses of the Review Board shall be paid with the funds appropriated to it by the City Council and the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh.
- The Review Board shall hire employees including, but not limited to, an Executive Director, clerical staff and investigators and may delegate to its staff such power, duties and authority as necessary to carry out these Rules and the purposes of the legislation.
662.04 REVIEW BOARD MEMBERS
The Review Board shall be constituted in accordance with Section 662.04 of the Ordinance. Review Board vacancies shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of Section 662.04 of the Ordinance. Service as a Member and compensation therefor shall be in accordance with Section 662.04 of the Ordinance.
- The Review Board shall elect a Chair and a Vice Chair. Elections for said offices shall be held upon adoption of these Rules and then every two years thereafter, commencing in November of 1999. Either the Chair or the Vice Chair or any designated Member may administer oaths to all those giving testimony, execute documents on behalf of the Review Board and compel attendance of witnesses and the production of documents by signature on subpoenas.
- These Rules shall become effective March 10, 1998, or as soon thereafter as adopted by the Review Board, following publication and opportunity for public comment at the March, 1998, Review Board meeting.
- Copies of these Rules shall be available to the public at no expense.
- The Executive Director shall establish practices whereby all Complainants, Police, witnesses and other individuals are informed of the contents of these Rules.
- The Review Board shall determine what training is necessary consistent with the provisions of the Ordinance for the Members and/or its staff, and the Review Board shall provide such training to the Review Board and its staff. Such training shall be open to the public only at such time and in such manner as the Review Board shall deem appropriate.
- No Member shall be liable to any person for damages or equitable relief by reason of any action taken or recommendation made by the Member or the Review Board, if the action taken was within the scope of the function of the Review Board, and if the Review Board Member acted in the reasonable belief that such Member’s action was warranted by the facts known to such Member.
662.05 DUTIES, LIMITATIONS AND OPERATIONS OF THE REVIEW BOARD
In the interest of improving the relationship between the Police and the public, the Review Board shall provide advice and recommendations to the Mayor and the Chief of Police for the purpose of improving the ability of the Police to carry out their duties. The Review Board shall also provide advice and recommendations as requested by the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police on policies, training and actions of the Police.
- Upon motion receiving the vote of a Quorum:
- The Review Board may initiate investigations of incidents of police misconduct for which no Citizen Complaint has been filed; or
- The Review Board may initiate studies, investigations, hold public hearings and make recommendations on policy matters, including improvement of the relationship between the Police and the community, Police training, hiring and discipline.
- An individual who has personal knowledge of alleged Misconduct on the part of any Officer may file an Informal Complaint with the Review Board by submitting information to the Review Board by telephone, in writing, by facsimile or in person at one or more locations to be determined and publicized by the Review Board.
- An Informal Complaint will not be deemed a Citizen Complaint until it has been reduced to writing and signed under penalty of perjury by the Complainant. Until an Informal Complaint is reduced to writing and signed under penalty of perjury by the Complainant, the matter shall be treated as an Informal Complaint and held in a “pending” file until a formal Citizen Complaint is made.
- At the time an Informal Complaint is received, Review Board staff shall inform the Complainant of the steps necessary to file a Citizen Complaint to initiate the preliminary inquiry and investigation procedures hereinafter described.
- The Review Board may establish such procedures as it deems appropriate to provide for OMI participation in the intake described above, but OMI’s role shall be secondary to that of the Review Board and its staff.
- Subject to applicable law, the Review Board staff shall obtain all pertinent information regarding the subject of the Citizen Complaint from OMI and the Review Board shall make available to OMI all evidence obtained during the course of its investigation.
- Any evidence received from or provided to OMI shall be kept strictly confidential and shall not be deemed a public record, nor shall it be available to the public pursuant to The Right to Know Act, 65 P.S. §66.1 (Supp. 1997).
- The Review Board shall, to the extent possible, minimize any duplication of effort between the Review Board and any other existing agencies, City offices or City departments which have jurisdiction over the same matter, but the Review Board may carry on investigatory and other proceedings on a matter being examined simultaneously by OMI.
- The Review Board shall meet monthly to receive, review and evaluate Citizen Complaints. The time and place of such meetings shall be publicly announced no less than 72 hours in advance of the meeting. Such monthly meetings will follow a routine agenda which includes the following components:
- Call to order and roll call;
- Acceptance of agenda;
- Approval of previous meeting’s minutes;
- Approval of administrative matters;
- Report of Executive Director;
- Deliberation of individual Citizen Complaints;
- Public hearings on individual Citizen Complaints on such other matters as a Quorum of the Review Board shall deem appropriate; and
- Opportunity for public comment subject to the discretion of the Review Board, provided that opportunity for public comment shall be provided at no less than two meetings per year.
In addition to its regular monthly meetings, special meetings may be called by the Chair by giving at least 24 hours’ notice of the time and place of the meeting to the Members and the general public. The Review Board may proceed to executive session, pursuant to applicable law, at the discretion of the Chair. All persons wishing to be heard in any matter before the Review Board must first be recognized by the Chair.
- No finding with respect to a Citizen Complaint shall be sustained unless it is proven by a preponderance of the evidence in accord with the procedure set forth in these Rules. “Preponderance of the evidence” means evidence that has more convincing force than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it.
- No Review Board finding or recommendation shall be based solely upon an Informal Complaint nor shall prior unsubstantiated, unfounded or withdrawn Citizen Complaints be the sole basis for any Review Board finding or recommendation.
- At any time following the receipt of a Citizen Complaint, the Complainant and the Subject Officer may choose to resolve the Citizen Complaint through mediation.
- The Review Board shall establish a mediation program pursuant to which such mediation shall proceed.
- The Review Board shall inform all Complainants and the Police of the option of mediation as an alternative to the more formal Review Board processes.
- Mediation pursuant to these Rules is an informal process held before a neutral third party, attended by the Complainant and the Subject Officer for the purpose of fully, thoroughly and frankly discussing the alleged Misconduct and attempting to arrive at a mutually agreeable resolution of the Citizen Complaint.
- If the Complainant and the Subject Officer agree to resolve the Citizen Complaint through mediation, the Executive Director shall schedule a mediation session at the earliest time convenient for all parties. Written notice of the time, date and location of the first mediation session shall be provided to each participant.
- The Complainant, the Subject Officer and the mediator shall be present at each mediation session. If the Complainant is a minor, a parent or legal guardian must be present. If the Complainant is an incapacitated adult, a legal guardian must be present. Arrangements will be made to have an interpreter present at the request of either party. No other person may be present. No record of the proceeding will be made.
- Procedures and guidelines for mediation will be established at the beginning of the mediation process upon agreement of all participants.
- The mediation session(s) will continue as long as the mediator and the parties feel progress is being made on the resolution of the issues raised by the Complainant. The process shall terminate when either party announces his or her unwillingness to continue mediation or when the parties sign an agreement setting forth the resolution of the disputed issue(s).
- Unless extended for good cause by the Review Board, initial mediation shall last no more than 30 working days from the date the Review Board receives notice of all parties’ willingness to participate in mediation. To encourage the parties to elect to mediate the Citizen Complaint, the time limits for processing a Citizen Complaint otherwise set forth within these Rules will be tolled during mediation.
- The Review Board, or its designated agent, shall monitor the mediation process and the implementation of a mediation agreement. If one party fails to abide by any agreement, the Citizen Complaint shall be returned to the Review Board for further action in accordance with these Rules.
- No record shall be made of the mediation process and no information discussed therein may be used in subsequent proceedings.
- Should the Citizen Complaint be successfully mediated, a copy of the mediation agreement will be placed in the Review Board file, but shall be circulated no further. The contents of such agreement shall not be disclosed by the Review Board to the Police or the Mayor, nor shall it be subject to public discovery. If the Chief of Police has prior knowledge of the Citizen Complaint, the Review Board will notify the Chief of Police that the matter has been resolved.
- Upon receipt of an Informal Complaint, by whatever means received, the Review Board shall notify the Complainant in writing within 10 working days of receiving any such Informal Complaint, as to what actions the Review Board may take or the Complainant must take.
- If the Review Board determines that no further action will be taken on the Informal Complaint, the reasons for such a decision shall be provided to the Complainant and a copy of these Rules and regulations shall be provided to the Complainant.
- If the Review Board determines that the Informal Complaint may be appropriate for preliminary inquiry, the Complainant shall be provided with a copy of these Rules and the Review Board shall explain that he or she must sign a Citizen Complaint under penalty of perjury. The procedures for filing a Citizen Complaint shall be explained to the Complainant and any necessary assistance shall be provided.
- If additional information is necessary to enable the Review Board to make a decision on its options, as well as the options of the Complainant, the Review Board shall provide to the Complainant the information required, as well as the opportunity to provide such additional information to the Review Board. Upon receipt of such information, the Review Board shall notify the Complainant within 10 working days either of its decision to take no action, or of the process to proceed to the filing of a Citizen Complaint.
- Should the Review Board or its staff learn at any time that the District Attorney, the State Attorney General’s office or the Department of Justice has initiated criminal proceedings against a Subject Officer, the Review Board shall defer any preliminary inquiry and/or investigation until such criminal proceedings have been withdrawn or concluded. For purposes of this paragraph, “criminal proceedings” shall include formal criminal charges, information, indictments, the issuance of a Grand Jury subpoena, hearings, inquests or other investigative procedures initiated by any sworn law enforcement officers acting in conjunction with or at the behest of the District Attorney, the State Attorney General’s office, the Department of Justice and/or the coroner.
- Upon the filing of a Citizen Complaint signed under penalty of perjury, the Review Board may choose to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations contained in the Citizen Complaint. The Citizen Complaints selected for preliminary inquiry shall only be those where the Review Board, in its discretion, believes the ultimate result will improve the relationship between the Police and the community.
- All information, records and proceedings with respect to Informal Complaints or Citizen Complaints shall be deemed confidential unless otherwise indicated.
- If the Review Board undertakes a preliminary inquiry, such inquiry shall be completed within 10 working days of its initiation and, in no event, more than 30 calendar days after the meeting of the Review Board at which the decision to conduct a preliminary inquiry was made or the next regularly-scheduled Review Board meeting, whichever is later.
- If the Review Board determines that the preliminary inquiry failed to establish reason to believe that Misconduct occurred, the Review Board will terminate its inquiry and so notify the Complainant, the Subject Officer and the Chief of Police.
- If the Review Board determines that the preliminary inquiry has established reason to believe that Misconduct may have occurred, it shall attempt to resolve the Citizen Complaint through mediation discussed in paragraph of this section, if the Complainant and Subject Officer voluntarily choose to participate.
- Mediation shall include mediation sessions with the Subject Officer and the Complainant at times and places agreed upon by the parties.
- When mediation sessions result in resolution of the dispute, the mediator shall inform the Review Board and the Review Board shall inform the Chief of Police in writing within 15 working days, respectively.
- In conducting the mediation, the mediator may suggest avenues towards resolution, but may not impose an outcome on the parties.
- Mediation sessions shall be closed to the public. Matters discussed shall be confidential, unless both parties agree otherwise as part of a written mediation settlement.
- Statements made and records disclosed during mediation may not be disclosed or introduced into evidence during any judicial proceeding.
- Citizen Complaint forms will conclude with the following words: “I hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge, and under penalty of perjury, the statements made herein are true.”
- A signed Citizen Complaint may be amended until 30 calendar days after its initial filing.
- Circumstances under which a Complainant may amend his or her Citizen Complaint include, but are not limited to, new evidence having been obtained, such as an additional witness coming forward or the recollection of pertinent information.
- Any amendment must be in written form and signed under penalty of perjury.
- A Complainant may withdraw from the Citizen Complaint process at any point in the proceedings by submitting to the Review Board a written, dated and signed notice of the Complainant’s intention to withdraw. The signed withdrawal statement must include an affirmation that the Complainant has not been coerced or intimidated into withdrawing the Citizen Complaint.
- The reasons for dismissal of a Citizen Complaint may include, but are not limited to the following:
- No dispute as to material facts exist and no reasonable person could sustain a Citizen Complaint based upon such facts;
- Even if all the Complainant’s alleged statements were true, no act of misconduct exists; or
- The alleged facts lack credibility such that no reasonable person could sustain the Citizen Complaint based upon such facts;
- The failure of the Complainant to cooperate.
- The Review Board shall monitor and receive reports no less than semi-annually regarding the number of withdrawn Informal Complaints and Citizen Complaints, the number of Informal Complaints and Citizen Complaints in which the Complainant was uncooperative and the number of Informal Complaints in which the Complainant chose not to file a Citizen Complaint. In addition, the report shall provide information, consistent with these Rules, as to the current and/or final status of the Complaint filed with the Review Board. The Review Board shall review those reports and take any appropriate steps to ensure that, consistent with these Rules and applicable law, the processes of the Review Board are fully open to the public and encourage citizen involvement. The report itself shall be available to the public.
- The Complainant must provide, at a minimum, the following information within a Citizen Complaint:
- The Complainant’s name, address, telephone number and date of birth;
- Alternate means of contacting the Complainant;
- A written statement setting forth the allegations, including date, time and location of the alleged Misconduct, and any other pertinent details, including the names of witnesses;
- Identification of Subject Officer (badge and/or name and/or description).
- If the Review Board determines that the preliminary inquiry has established a basis for belief that Misconduct occurred, and either the Complainant or the Subject Officer refuses to participate in mediation, or if no resolution can be reached through reasonable mediation efforts, the Review Board shall conduct a full investigation into the Citizen Complaint in preparation for a public hearing.
- The Review Board shall keep all information, records and proceedings relating to the investigation confidential. All witness statements obtained during the investigation shall be signed and tape recorded where feasible. Once initiated, the full investigation shall be completed within 30 working days of its initiation, unless extended by the Review Board, upon good cause, for an additional 30 working days upon written notice to the parties.
- At its next regularly scheduled meeting following completion of the investigation, the Review Board shall determine whether the full investigation supports the results of the preliminary inquiry. If the Review Board believes that the full investigation has failed to establish that Misconduct occurred, the Review Board will close its investigation and so notify the Complainant, the Subject Officer and the Chief of Police.
- If the Review Board determines, upon completion of its full investigation, there continues to be reason to believe that Misconduct occurred, it shall set the matter for hearing no sooner than its next regularly scheduled public meeting. The parties and the public shall receive at least 10 working days’ written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.
- The Police shall, in accordance with the Ordinance and except as expressly prohibited by any other law, or as permitted by the Ordinance, respond promptly to all reasonable requests for information, for participation in evidentiary hearings, and for access to data and records for the purposes of enabling the Review Board to carry out its responsibilities. Such failure by the Police to comply with such requests for information, participation or access shall be deemed an act of misconduct. In the event of the failure by any City employee to comply with such requests for information, participation or access, the Review Board may request of the Mayor that such employee be disciplined.
- Prior to interviewing any Officer, the interviewer shall read the following statement to the Officer:
- No statements or testimony provided by Officers, either under oath or otherwise, shall be provided to any law enforcement agency, without the written consent of the Subject Officer providing the statement. Should any Officer refuse to cooperate with the Review Board, unless excused by applicable provisions of the Ordinance or other law, the matter will be referred to the Chief of Police for further disciplinary proceedings. Such refusal may be considered an act of Misconduct subject to further examination by the Review Board in accordance with these Rules. If any person or entity subpoenaed by the Review Board refuses to testify or cooperate without legal basis, the Review Board may apply to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for an order enforcing the subpoena.
You are being questioned as part of an official investigation of the City of Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board. You will be asked questions specifically directed and narrowly related to the performance of your duties. You are entitled to all rights and privileges guaranteed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Constitution of this state and the Constitution of the United States. You have the right not to be compelled to incriminate yourself, and the right to have your own retained legal counsel present at each and every stage of this investigation. Counsel will not be provided to you by the Review Board. If you refuse to testify or to answer questions relating to the performance of your official duties, your refusal will be reported to the Chief of Police and you may be subject to Police Bureau charges, which could result in your dismissal from the Police Bureau. Neither your statements, nor any information or evidence which is gained by reason of your statements to the Review Board can be used against you in any subsequent judicial proceeding. However, these statements may be used against you in a prosecution for perjury or subsequent Police Bureau proceedings, or in further proceedings by the Review Board.
- The Review Board and its staff shall educate the public about the Review Board and its duties, and written copies of these Rules shall be available to the public at no cost. The Review Board and its staff shall develop and administer an ongoing program for the education of the public regarding the Ordinance and these Rules. The Review Board shall notify the public of such education programs.
- The Review Board may delegate to its staff any and all responsibilities necessary to carry out the Ordinance and/or these Rules.
- The Review Board shall not delegate the following responsibilities to any person or entity other than a Panel, unless these Rules are amended to permit such delegation following public notice and comment:
- The decision whether to conduct a full investigation;
- The decision whether to conduct a public hearing;
- The decision whether to make a recommendation to the Mayor and the Chief of Police regarding individual incidents of Misconduct.
- The Review Board shall direct and supervise the operations of its staff with regard to receiving, investigating and disposing of all Citizen Complaints in order to utilize the best available investigatory practices.
- Complainants shall receive written notice of the following:
- What action, if any, will be taken on an Informal Complaint;
- What action has been taken on a Citizen Complaint;
- The reason an investigation with respect to any matter initiated by the Complainant will no longer be pursued;
- What action, if any, has been taken by the Chief of Police with respect to a recommendation made by the Review Board.
Nothing in these Rules shall limit the ability of the Review Board to delegate any of its responsibilities or powers to a Panel.
- The Review Board shall not delegate the following responsibilities to any person or entity other than a Panel, unless these Rules are amended to permit such delegation following public notice and comment:
- The Review Board shall have full power to issue subpoenas to individuals or entities for the production of records, documents and/or testimony.
- Nothing herein is intended to limit the rights of individuals set forth elsewhere in these Rules or the Ordinance.
- Prior to issuance of a subpoena, the Review Board will provide the individual or entity to whom the subpoena is to be directed the opportunity to voluntarily provide the information or produce the personnel requested. Any documents or testimony produced pursuant to subpoena shall be kept confidential. Pursuant to the Ordinance, the Review Board may request and/or subpoena all relevant documents, which it agrees to keep confidential including, but not limited to, the following:
- OMI files, department management files, ethics and accountability files, and the files of any other internal investigative agency charged with investigating Misconduct;
- Police paperwork produced by the Police Bureau for the purpose of investigating suspects or to aid in their prosecution;
- Personnel files of Officers, including annual performance evaluations and records documenting training and mandatory counseling;
- Police directives;
- All summaries, statistical compilations and other internal reports on training, shootings, injuries, complaints of abuse and any other issues related to the mission of the Review Board;
- Relevant information or data contained in the automated early warning system described in the Consent Decree;
- Written reports required to be filed by Officers pursuant to the Consent Decree concerning the use of force, warrantless searches, body cavity searches, strip searches, warrantless seizures of property (excluding towing of vehicles) and traffic stops;
- Written reports, records and data maintained by the independent auditor appointed pursuant to the Consent Decree; and
- Status reports filed by the City with the independent auditor and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania pursuant to the Consent Decree.
- Any party participating in the Review Board process is entitled to legal representation at his or her own expense.
- The Review Board is authorized to hire a Review Board Solicitor.
- The Review Board may use its funds to hire attorneys to assist the Executive Director or the Review Board Solicitor in special matters, as the Review Board deems appropriate.
- The Review Board is authorized to hire independent counsel, as it deems appropriate, to represent either the Executive Director or the Review Board itself.
- If the Review Board finds that any Informal Complaint or Citizen Complaint was brought in bad faith and that the Subject Officer did not engage in Misconduct, the Review Board shall assess against the Complainant any attorney’s fees and costs expended on behalf of the Subject Officer. For the purposes of this section, “bad faith” means acting fraudulently, dishonestly or in a corrupt manner in initiating and/or pursuing an Informal Complaint or Citizen Complaint.
- Upon motion receiving an affirmative vote of a Quorum, the Review Board may initiate investigations of Misconduct for which no Informal Complaint or Citizen Complaint has been filed, or initiate studies and/or investigations, hold public hearings and/or make recommendations on policy matters, including improvement of the relationship between the Police and the community and Police training, hiring and discipline.
- If at any time, the Review Board determines that a Complainant has made a false accusation against any Officer in a signed Citizen Complaint, the Review Board shall forward a complete copy of the Complaint, together with the written directive, to the District Attorney of Allegheny County, and request an investigation of the Complainant for violation of applicable criminal statutes relating to sworn statements.
- An Informal Complaint must be filed with the Review Board within six months of the time of the alleged Misconduct. If no Informal Complaint is filed, a Citizen Complaint must be filed within six months of the time of the alleged misconduct. As to an Aggrieved Person, the six-month period shall run from the date the Aggrieved Person knew or should have known of the alleged Misconduct.
The Review Board may hold public hearings on general police practices or individual complaints of Misconduct. Unless otherwise set forth herein, no recommendation of discipline may be made to the Mayor or Chief of Police unless a public hearing has been held on the matter.
- To aid its fact-gathering function, the Review Board shall have the power to conduct public hearings. Except as otherwise provided herein, no citizen or entity may compel the Review Board to hold a public hearing.
- The Review Board shall have full power to issue subpoenas to individuals or entities for the production of records, documents and/or testimony.
- All public hearings shall be both tape-recorded and subject to stenographic transcription. Copies of stenographic transcription of public hearings shall be available to the public at a reasonable cost.
- All testimony given before the Review Board shall be given under oath.
- Only such evidence shall be taken at a public hearing as the Review Board determines shall assist it in reaching a finding regarding the Citizen Complaint, or the matter before it.
- Unless determined otherwise, the Review Board Solicitor shall act as the hearing officer at such public hearing.
- Any parties are entitled to be represented at the public hearing, but only the Members, the Executive Director, and/or his or her attorney, and a representative of each Subject Officer is entitled to ask questions or otherwise participate.
- Any party requesting an interpreter shall provide at least 14 working days’ written notice of this request to the Review Board. Whether an interpreter is necessary shall be a matter solely within the discretion of the Review Board.
- The fact that the Review Board holds a public hearing shall not make records otherwise confidential under the Rules or the Ordinance, available for review by the public. Only those matters specifically so designated by the Review Board shall be deemed “public records.” All other records shall remain strictly confidential.
- Prior to the public hearing, the Review Board shall, by written notice, direct the Subject Officer and his or her counsel to appear, along with the Executive Director, and special counsel if retained, at a specified time, date and location for a pre-hearing conference to be held with a designated panel of the Review Board and the Review Board Solicitor.
- A pre-hearing conference held under this section shall be held at such time as the hearing panel chairperson may specify, and in no case less than 15 calendar days prior to the public hearing and with at least 10 calendar days’ advance notice to the public and the parties of the pre-hearing conference date.
- This pre-hearing conference is not for presentation of evidence, but for the exchange of relevant information. The pre-hearing conference shall be conducted by the hearing panel chairperson for the following purposes:
- Simplifying, clarifying and specifying the issues;
- Obtaining stipulations, any agreed-upon admissions of fact, the contents and authenticity of all documents to avoid unnecessary proof, and any known, subsequent requests for subpoena and information;
- Identifying all witnesses known to the parties who the parties believe to be necessary for testimony at the hearing;
- Sharing of pertinent information and review of the investigative file;
- Determining other steps necessary to expedite the presentation of evidence;
- Setting the time, date and location of any other hearings necessary to further refine the matter for public hearing; and
- Discussing other matters as may aid in the orderly disposition of the proceeding.
- The pre-hearing conference shall be open to the public in the same manner and to the same extent as a public hearing.
- Any such pre-hearing conference shall be recorded, and any decisions made therein shall control the subsequent course of proceedings unless such decisions are modified for good cause by the Review Board.
- If settlement is reached at this pre-hearing conference, the hearing panel chairperson shall draft a written settlement agreement and have it signed by both parties. This agreement shall then be entered into the file. The implementation of this settlement will be monitored by the Review Board. In order for settlement to be reached, the Executive Director shall have previously received from the Complainant a signed authorization to attempt a settlement. Such settlement requires agreement of the Complainant.
- The requirement of all parties to cooperate, as set forth in the Ordinance and these Rules, shall continue through the pre-hearing conference and shall continue in effect for the public hearing.
- Whenever two or more separate Citizen Complaints have arisen from the same incident or event, the Chair may in his or her discretion, and on his or her own initiative, or in response to a request by any of the parties, move to consolidate the cases into one public hearing.
- The public hearing need not be conducted according to technical Rules relating to evidence and witnesses. Any relevant evidence shall be admitted if it is the sort of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to relying in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule which might make improper the admission of such evidence over objection in civil actions. Hearsay evidence may be used for the purpose of supplementing or explaining other evidence. Evidence shall be taken in accordance with the following provisions:
- Subject to the discretion of the Review Board, each party shall have these rights: to call and examine witnesses deemed relevant and noncumulative by the Review Board; to introduce exhibits; to cross-examine opposing witnesses on any matter relevant to the issues covered in direct examination and deemed useful by the Review Board; to impeach any witness regarding the subject matter of his or her testimony, regardless which party first called the witness to testify; and to rebut evidence against the party. If the Complainant or Subject Officer does not testify, either may be called on behalf of the Executive Director or the Subject Officer and examined as if under cross-examination, but only to the extent deemed helpful by the Review Board.
- Oral testimony shall be taken only under oath or affirmation;
- Upon the request of either party or of a Member, witnesses may be excluded from the hearing until they are called to testify;
- Irrelevant and unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded; and
- The Rules of Privilege shall be effective to the extent that they are otherwise required by U.S. Constitution, the Pennsylvania constitution or a state or federal statute to be recognized at hearings before the Review Board.
- Hearings shall be conducted in the following manner unless the Chair or hearing officer orders otherwise:
- The Review Board Solicitor will act as the hearing officer subject to being overruled by a Quorum of the Review Board.
- The Executive Director, or an attorney provided by the Review Board for the Executive Director, shall present evidence on behalf of the Complainant.
- The Subject Officer and any witness, Aggrieved Party or Complainant, shall have the right to have a representative present at all times during any proceeding, but only the representative of the Subject Officer shall be permitted to make statements to the Review Board or question witnesses.
- The Subject Officer, or his or her representative, may then present evidence as deemed relevant and non-cumulative by the Board.
- At the discretion of the hearing officer, opening statements may be made on behalf of the Executive Director and the Subject Officer.
- Members are entitled to rely on the investigative file in reaching their ultimate determination, so long as the file has previously been made available to the Subject Officer and the Subject Officer has been afforded the opportunity to present additional evidence as deemed helpful or useful by the Review Board.
- At the conclusion of any witness’ testimony, either the Executive Director or the Subject Officer may request that the Review Board cover additional areas of inquiry. The hearing officer and the Review Board shall determine whether any further questions shall be asked.
- Unless otherwise ordered by the Review Board, the entire investigative hearing on a given Citizen Complaint should be conducted on one single occasion. However, if the Review Board determines that additional evidence is necessary to reach its findings, it will continue the investigative hearing to a future date, unless the parties agree to allow the hearing panel to receive such material in writing without reconvening. Unless specifically found by the Review Board to be confidential for reasons consistent with these Rules, such written submission shall be available to the public in the same manner and to the same extent as oral testimony received at the public hearing.
- After the evidentiary portion of the hearing is completed, the Review Board shall deliberate either in public or in executive session as the Review Board shall deem appropriate at that time. In any event, the decision of the Review Board shall be announced in public.
- The Review Board shall consider only information received as part of the public hearing or contained within the investigative file, provided the Subject Officer has been given prior access to the investigative file. Such public deliberation shall not otherwise make discoverable records which are deemed confidential by these Rules or by the Ordinance.
- Failure of the Subject Officer and/or his or her representative or the Executive Director to appear at the evidentiary hearing without good cause may be considered by the Review Board in weighing the evidence before it. Failure of the Complainant to appear at the evidentiary hearing, without good cause, shall require the Review Board to decide either
- to proceed with the evidentiary hearing and consider the failure to appear in weighing the evidence before it, or
- to dismiss the Citizen Complaint.
- Granting of a continuance will be allowed only upon good cause shown and with the approval of a Quorum of the Review Board. Requests for continuance must be filed no less than 10 calendar days prior to the scheduled hearing.
- A Subject Officer may stipulate to the facts contained within the investigative file and waive a public hearing. In such case, the Review Board may consider the investigative file and reach a final decision regarding recommendations as if a public hearing was held. The decision of the Review Board shall be publicly announced no later than its next regularly-scheduled meeting, or 10 days after reaching its final decision, whichever is later.
662.07 FINDING OF NECESSITY
The Police, by the Ordinance and these Rules, shall, except as expressly prohibited by any other law, respond promptly to any and all reasonable requests for information, for participation at evidentiary hearings and for access to data and records for the purposes of enabling the Review Board to carry out its responsibilities.
- The following rules shall govern the findings of the Review Board with respect to its requests for information:
- The failure by any official or employee of the Police to comply with such request for information, participation or access shall be deemed an act of misconduct. In the event of the failure by any City employee to comply with such request for information, participation or access, the Review Board may request to the Mayor that such employee be disciplined.
- Upon finding by the Review Board that documents or personnel requested have not been forthcoming, or that necessity requires production of witnesses and/or documents, the Review Board may issue subpoenas for such witnesses or documents as it may deem appropriate.
- No document or information obtained through formal or informal process, by or through any Member or its staff shall be released to the public, unless such document is deemed by the Review Board to be a public record under the Pennsylvania Right to Know Act, 65 P.S. §66.1, et seq.
- Any documents deemed by the Review Board to be public records shall be available to the public for review at reasonable times and in such reasonable manner as the Review Board or its staff shall determine.
- The cost of making any Review Board records available for review by the public – at the times and places established by the Review Board or its staff for public review – shall be borne by the Review Board. Costs to copy any such documents for receipt by the public shall be borne by the requestor.
662.08 FORM OF ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The Review Board shall have the power to recommend that the Mayor and the Chief of Police take certain actions.
- Following the hearing, the Review Board shall make one of the following decisions:
- Subject Officer exonerated, for one of two reasons:
- The facts alleged in the Citizen Complaint are true, but do not constitute Misconduct by the Subject Officer; or
- The facts alleged in the Citizen Complaint are not true;
- Insufficient evidence exists to sustain the Citizen Complaint; or
- Citizen Complaint sustained.
- Subject Officer exonerated, for one of two reasons:
- When a Citizen Complaint is sustained, the Review Board shall make such recommendations as it deems appropriate to the Mayor and the Chief of Police within 30 working days:
- The Review Board may recommend general reforms or specific actions directed at individual Officers.
- The Mayor and the Chief of Police shall retain full and ultimate authority to set disciplinary policies and take other lawful actions they deem appropriate relative to the Police Bureau.
- Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the rights of the Mayor or the Police with respect to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, the right to notice and a hearing, which may be established by any other Ordinance of the City.
- The Review Board, upon request, may make available to the Chief of Police and the Mayor or their designated representatives, such information as is necessary for the Mayor and/or Chief of Police to reach a decision on the recommendations of the Review Board.
- The recommendations shall be publicly announced unless the Board specifically finds a compelling reason to impose confidentiality consistent with law. All other records and information in the possession of the Review Board shall remain confidential except as provided elsewhere in these Rules.
(§662.08 as amended September 28, 1999)
662.09 RESPONSE TO REVIEW BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS
Within 30 working days of the submission of a recommendation for action by the Review Board to the Mayor and the Chief of Police, the Mayor and/or Chief of Police shall respond, in writing, stating which recommendations are accepted, rejected, or will be implemented with modifications.
- If the Review Board’s recommendations are rejected or modified, the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police shall include a written explanation for the decision.
- Upon receipt of the response from the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police, the Review Board shall make a copy of such response available to the Complainant.
- Following receipt of the response of the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police, the Review Board shall, unless it specifically finds a compelling reason consistent with law to impose confidentiality, make public the response of the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police to its recommendations. No other records pertaining to the matter shall be made available to the public unless, and then only to the extent, authorized by the Review Board in conformity with these Rules, the Ordinance and applicable law. If its recommendations or the response are not publicly announced, the Review Board shall publicly announce its reasons for keeping its recommendations or the response confidential.
(§662.09 as amended September 28, 1999)