Riot Analysts Named Head of SMPD Civilian Oversight Panel

City Council expected to approve 5-year agreement with OIR Group, the only bidder for the job

By Jack Simon, Observer Staff Writer

The OIR Group, the consulting firm that analyzed and issued a detailed report on the events connected to the civil unrest in Santa Monica, of May 31, 2020, will soon become the first Inspector General of the newly-created Safety Reform and Oversight Commission.

At its next meeting on October 12, the Santa Monica City Council is expected to approve a five-year agreement with the OIR Group to facilitate the work of the new panel, including conducting policing investigations and developing recommendations for the council. The consulting firm will be paid a maximum $140,000 a year, according to city officials.

In its report to the Council, city staff said that the OIR Group has been selected as "the best and only bidder for the services of Inspector General."

The group was chosen "based on its specific knowledge of Santa Monica Police Department operations following their well-respected review of the events of May 31, broad range of expertise in matters relevant to civilian oversight, and history of providing similar services to other U.S. cities," said city staff.

The new Inspector General "will be able to view internal documents and provide data at the appropriate level to the commission to carry out its investigative and advisory duties," said city officials. "The IG would be granted access to SMPD data and records regarding uses of force, stops, arrest, convictions, and such other matters to the extent permitted by State and Federal law."

After releasing its report in May 2021, the OIR Group was praised by city officials for its effort.

Mayor Sue Himmelrich called its independent analysis "a roadmap to our goal of preventing another May 31. "The Council looks forward to the work of the Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission in driving the long-term change we need to rebuild public trust and provide public safety for all."

Earlier this year, the City Council unanimously voted to establish the new civilian oversight commission – which would "promote best practices in community-based policing for the fair treatment and safety of all" – in response to social justice movement that swept the country following the George Floyd killing.

The Council said the panel's main duties include working, through the Inspector General, to evaluate ideas for reimagining public safety, to address any violations of procedures or policies in connection with disciplinary investigations, proceedings and actions, and to review SMPD policies and practices and make recommendations to the Police Chief, City Manager, and City Council.


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