Using Police Commissions to Achieve Accountability
In order to give the public a greater voice in how it is policed, some jurisdictions have established police commissions, which play a role in hiring and firing the police chief, developing and approving police department policies, overseeing inspectors general and/or independent investigative units, and adjudicating allegations of misconduct. This webinar will provide an historical and national perspective on these types of commissions and describe the ways in which such commissions can make law enforcement agencies more accountable to the public. Through an in-depth examination of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and the Oakland Police Commission, the webinar will highlight the authority and resources commissions possess, how commission members are selected, and how commissions operate.
Join us on February 7, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. ET, when we’ll hear from Eileen Decker, vice president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, Regina Jackson, chair of the Oakland Police Commission, and Professor Maria Ponomarenko, of the University of Minnesota Law School and New York University School of Law Policing Project. NACOLE board member Florence L. Finkle will facilitate the discussion.
Eileen M. Decker
Eileen M. Decker currently serves as Vice President of the Los Angeles Police Commission having just completed her two-year term as President; a Fulbright Specialist in Cybersecurity Law & Policy; an Adjunct Professor in Cybersecurity, Privacy, and National Security Law at USC Gould School of Law, UCLA Law School and Pepperdine Law School; and a Subject Matter Expert for the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
Until 2017, Ms. Decker served as the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. As part of her duties, she served on five Attorney General Advisory Committees including Terrorism/National Security and Cyber/Intellectual Property. As U.S. Attorney she led the federal investigation and response into the San Bernardino terrorist attack (including the Apple iPhone case), cyberattacks on businesses within the district (including the hack of SONY Pictures Entertainment), and civil rights charges against numerous Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and the L.A. County Sheriff.
Prior to becoming U.S. Attorney, Ms. Decker was the Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety for nearly six years, where she led the effort to create the City’s Cyber Intrusion Command Center. Prior to being Deputy Mayor, she was an Assistant United States Attorney for almost 15 years, becoming the district’s first Chief of the National Security Section. Ms. Decker received her undergraduate and law degrees from New York University, a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, and was a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School. Ms. Decker has provided commentary and legal analysis in The Hill, Lawfare, and the Journal of National Security Law and Policy.
For 27 years, Ms. Jackson served as the executive director, president, and chief executive officer of the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) and took on the challenge of molding and mentoring young people by providing a safe space for youth to recognize their value and realize their dreams. Over the years, she has proven EOYDC to be a model environment for nurturing young minds, establishing and expanding community engagement, youth empowerment, and leadership development resources. Through her "theory of change" character-based leadership model and her "comprehensive compassion/emotional intelligence" concept, she established an excellence-driven culture in the heart of an urban warzone, 30,000 students strong, with ties from the HBCU's to Ivy League to the NBA.
An expert in her field, Dr. Jackson (Honorary Doctorate from USF) is often invited (domestically and internationally) to deliver public testimony, workshops, TEDx, webinars, papers, IDC presentations, and has led cross-cultural exchange delegations to Asia in support of presidential initiatives. Always looking to expand her impact, she has worked tirelessly at setting a firm foundation and providing a replicable best practice model. She also makes a point to serve whenever she can make a positive difference across the country. She recently completed a three-year Robert Wood Johnson Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship focused on identifying upstream factors for youth violence. Regina is an adviser to more than six non-profit, finance, and educational organizations. She was appointed by the Mayor of Oakland to serve on the Police Commission for the City of Oakland in 2017. On February 14, 2019, Regina was elected Chair of the Police Commission and has been unanimously re-elected twice. Most recently, Ms. Jackson was part of the Inaugural Class of Black Conductors trained through Blooming Willow Coaching and Training recently certified in Healing Centered Coaching.
Maria Ponomarenko is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she teaches in the areas of criminal procedure, constitutional law, and administrative law. Her scholarship on local administrative law and police governance has appeared in leading publications, including the New York University Law Review, the Northwestern Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
She also is co-founder and counsel at the Policing Project, a non-profit based at the NYU School of Law that works in tandem with policing agencies and community groups to promote more effective, just, and accountable policing. The Policing Project has worked closely with advocates and agencies in more than a dozen jurisdictions including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tucson, Nashville, and Camden.
In conjunction with the Policing Project, Professor Ponomarenko currently is spearheading a national effort to develop model legislation on a variety of policing issues. She also is an Associate Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law: Policing project, which will provide much-needed guidance to legislators and agencies on tackling some of the hardest issues in policing, ranging from police encounters and the use of force, to internal and external agency accountability.
Florence L. Finkle (Moderator)
During the last three decades, Florence L. Finkle has worked to hold law enforcement officers accountable for committing crimes and/or violating internal departmental policies, and improve law enforcement practices and accountability systems. Ms. Finkle prosecuted corrupt police officers at the New York County District Attorney's Office (1987-1996), helped build and professionalize the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board as its deputy executive director for investigations and executive director (1996-2007), and as the New York City Department of Correction’s deputy commissioner for integrity and policy (2010-2014), reformed the department’s internal investigations and operational audits. Ms. Finkle’s investigations led to indictments against 23 correction officers. Since September 2017, the membership of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement has twice elected Ms. Finkle to serve on its board of directors; she serves as NACOLE’s secretary and chairs NACOLE’s Training, Education, and Standards Committee. Ms. Finkle most recently worked as a consultant (2018-2020) with the Seattle Police Monitor and on behalf of the District of Columbia Police Reform Commission (2020-2021).
Ms. Finkle graduated summa cum laude in 1984 from Tufts University and obtained her law degree from New York University School of Law in 1987.