Translation Disclaimer

Police Review Commission
Police Review Commission



The people of the City of Berkeley do ordain as follows:

Section 1.  The general purpose of this Ordinance is to provide for community participa­tion in setting and reviewing police department policies, practices, and procedures and to provide a means for prompt, impartial, and fair investigation of complaints brought by individu­als against the Berkeley Police Department.

Section 2.  There is hereby established a Police Review Commission for the City of Berkeley.  Said Commission shall consist of nine (9) members.  Each Council member shall appoint (1) member to the Commission.  All members shall be residents of the City of Berkeley.  No officer or employee of the City shall be appointed to the Commission.

  Section 3.  The term of each member shall be two (2) years commencing on October 4 of each odd numbered year and ending on October 3 of each succeeding odd numbered year.  Any vacancy occurring during the term of any member shall be filled by the Councilmember whose appointee has ceased to serve, or, if such Councilmember is no longer a member of the Council, by the Councilmember who has no appointee then serving on the Commission, or, (i) if there be more than one, by such of said Councilmembers as shall be determined by lot, or, (ii) if there be none, by the Council.  No member shall serve more than two (2) consecutive terms or portions thereof.*

Section 4.  Vacancies on said Commission, from whatever cause, except temporary vacancies as hereinafter provided, shall be filled for the unexpired term by the City Councilmember whose appointee has ceased to serve.  The appointment of any member of the Commis­sion who has been absent and not excused from three (3) consecutive regular or special meetings shall automatically expire effective on the date the fact of such absence is reported by the Commission to the City Clerk.  The City Clerk shall notify any member whose appointment has automatically terminated and report to the City Council that a vacancy exists on said Commis­sion and that an appointment should be made for the length of the unexpired term.  A member of the Commission may be granted a leave of absence not to exceed three (3) months by the City Council, and a temporary vacancy shall thereupon exist for the period of such leave of absence.  During the period of such temporary vacancy, the Council may fill such vacancy by a temporary appointment to said Commission; provided, however, that the period of such temporary appointment shall not exceed the period of the temporary vacancy.  At the expiration of a leave of absence so granted, the member shall automatically resume full and permanent membership on said Commission.

Section 5.  The Commission shall elect one of its members as Chairperson and one as Vice-Chairperson, who shall each hold office for one (1) year and until their successors are elected.  No officer shall be eligible to succeed himself or herself in the same office.  Officers shall be elected no later than the second meeting of the Commission following its appoint­ment.

Section 6.  The Police Review Commission shall be a working Commission.  In order to compensate Commissioners for their time and work in investigating complaints, reviewing policies and practices, and attending meetings, Commissioners shall receive $3.00 (three dollars) per hour, but in no case shall compensation for any one Commissioner exceed $200 (two hundred dollars) per month.  Procedures and regulations for accounting for hours worked and compensation shall be developed and adopted by the Commission and filed with the office of City Clerk.

Such clerical and secretarial assistance as are needed by the Commission shall be provided by the office of the City Clerk.  The Commission is further authorized to secure and define the duties of same, in the manner consistent with existing law, as it may deem necessary or appropriate.*

Section 7.  The Commission shall establish a regular time and place of meeting and shall meet regularly at least once every two weeks or more frequently as workload requires.  The regular place of meeting shall be in an appropriate central location in the City capable of accommodating at least 75 people, but shall not be held in the building in which the Police Department is located.  At least once every three (3) months, or more frequently if the Commis­sion desires, the Commission may meet in other places and locations throughout the City for the purpose of encouraging interest and facilitating attendance by people in the various neighbor­hoods in the City at the meetings.

Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or by three (3) members of the Commission, upon personal notice being given to all members or written notice being mailed to each member and received at least thirty-six (36) hours prior to such meeting, unless such notice is waived in writing.

All Commission meetings, and agendas for such meetings shall be publicized in advance by written notice given to newspapers, radio and television stations serving the City at least three (3) days prior to regular meetings, and at the same time as members are notified of special meetings.  In addition, notice of meetings shall be posted regularly on such bulletin boards and at such locations throughout the City as are designated by the Commis­sion.

All meetings shall be open to the public, unless the Commission, in order to protect the rights and privacy of individuals, decides otherwise and if such closed meeting is not waived by the individual concerned.  The Commission shall cause to be kept a proper record of its proceedings.  The records and files of the Commission and its officers shall include, but not be limited to, all official correspondence, or copies thereof, to and from the Commission and its members, gathered in their official capacities, and shall be kept and open for inspec­tion by the public at reasonable times in the office of the Secretary of the Commission.

A majority of the appointed Commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transac­tion of business, and the affirmative vote of a majority of those present is required to take any action.

The Commission may appoint such subcommittees as are deemed necessary or desirable for the purposes of this ordinance, provided that, membership on such subcommit­tees shall not be limited to the Commission members but may include members of the public who express an interest in the business of the subcommittees.  The members of such subcommittees shall serve without compensation.

Section 8.  On the petition of fifty (50) or more citizens in the City of Berkeley filed in the office of the Secretary of the Commission, the Commission shall hold a special meeting in an appropriate and convenient location for the individuals so petitioning for the purpose of responding to the petition and hearing and inquiring into matters identified therein as the concern of the petitioners.  Copies of the petition shall be filed by the Commis­sion with the City Clerk and the City Council.  Notice of such meeting shall be given in the same manner as notice is given for other meetings of the Commission.  In no case shall the Commission meet later than five (5) working days following the date the petition is filed.

Section 9In carrying out its objectives, the Commission shall receive prompt and full cooperation and assistance from all departments, officers, and officials of the City of Berkeley.  The Chief of Police, or his deputy if the Chief is ill or absent from the City, shall as part of his duties attend meetings of the Commission when so requested by the Commis­sion, and shall provide such information, documents, or materials as the Commission may request.  The Commission may also require the attendance at its meeting of any other Police Department personnel or City officials it deems appropriate in the carrying out of its responsi­bilities under this Ordinance.*

Section 10.  The Commission established by this Ordinance shall have the following powers and duties:

a)  to advise and make recommendations to the public, the City Council, and the City Manager;

b)  to review and make recommendations concerning all written and unwritten policies, practices, and procedures of whatever kind and without limitations, in relation to the Berkeley Police Department, other law enforcement agencies and intelligence and military agencies operating within the City of Berkeley, and law enforcement generally, such review and recommendation to extend to, but not be limited to, the following: 

                i)      treatment of rape victims;

               ii)      police relationship with minority communities;

              iii)       use of weapons and equipment;

               iv)     hiring and training;

               v)      priorities for policing and patrolling;

              vi)      budget development;

 viii)      other concerns as specified from time to time by the City Council; 

c)  to request and receive promptly such written and unwritten information, docu­ments, and materials and assistance as it may deem necessary in carrying out any of its responsibilities under this Ordinance from any office or officer or department of the city government, including but not limited to the Police Department, the City Manager, the Finance Department, the Public Works Department, and the City Attorney, each of all of which are hereby directed out of its responsibilities; provided that information the disclosure of which would impair the right of privacy of specific individuals or prejudice pending litigation concerning them shall not be required to be made available to the Commission except in general form to the extent police activities in specific cases reflect Police Depart­ment policies and; provided that the individual involved in the specific situation may consent in writing to the disclosure of information concerning him or her, in which case it shall be made available to the Commission;* 

d)  to receive complaints directed against the Police Department and any of its officers and employees, and fully and completely investigate said complaints and make such recom­mendations and give such advice without limitation including disciplinary and action relating to departmental policies and procedures to the City Council and the City Manager in connection therewith as the Commission in its discretion deems advisable; provided as follows:


  i)        that investigation of all complaints filed with the Commission shall begin immediately after com­plaints are filed and proceed as expe­ditiously as possible;

 ii)        that all such complaints filed with other offices, boards, bureaus, and departments of the City, including the Police Department, shall be referred to the Commission for investigation and that the Police Department shall conduct its own investiga­tion only at the request of said Commission, and;

iii)         that regular quarterly reports relating to the num­ber, kind, and status of all such complaints shall be made by the Commission to the City Council and the City Manager;* 

e)  consistent with provisions of the Berkeley City Charter and to the extent permissi­ble by law, to exercise the power of subpoena; 

f)  to adopt rules and regulations and develop such procedures for its own activities and investigations as may be necessary and to publish and file same with the office of the City Clerk, and to do such other things not forbidden by law which are consistent with a broad interpretation of this Ordinance and its general purposes.

Section 11.  That Ordinance No. 4061-N.S. and Ordinance No. 4149-N.S. and No. 4887-N.S. in amendment thereof are each and all repealed by this Bill.  To assist in an orderly transition between the Citizens Committee on Public Safety, herein abolished, and the Police Review Commission established by this Bill, all files, records, books, and publications, and documents of whatever kind of the former Committee shall be promptly deposited in the Officer of the City Manager for the use and benefit of the newly created Police Review Commission.

Section 12.  If any provision of this Ordinance or its application is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions, sections, or applica­tions of the Ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end any phrase, section, sentence, or word is declared to be sever­able.

In effect:  April 17, 1973


     *Section 3 amended December 3, 1982; see attachment.

     *Language shown in strike out type was declared invalid by the California Court of Appeal on April 12, 1976.

     *The language shown in strike out type was declared invalid by the California Court of Appeals on April 12, 1976.

     *The language shown in strike out type was declared invalid by the California Court of Appeal on April 12, 1976.

    **The language shown in strike out type was declared invalid by the California Court of Appeals on April 12, 1976.

Home | Web Policy | Text-Only Site Map | Contact Us
Police Review Commission, 1947 Center Street, 1st Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-4950
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903