Did you do any organizational assessment or evaluations?


Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you always have a plan before you went on-site, or did you develop a plan or a goal after you arrived on-site?

Answer:
Usually you have a basic plan of assessments that you start with, the people who have the problem, and confirm what they are concerned about. And that's the beginning of that assessment, answering those basic questions that I had mentioned. This of course relates to both conciliation and mediation. Again, you're seeking to identify the issues and who the party's are, and what would it take to resolve the issues in their eyes. And getting that, you formulate your own conclusions and your own strategy, and then ultimately your recommendations.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I think the chief himself felt that they hadn't had a self audit among themselves and most departments don't, and here's somebody that can do this for us that will help us in the long run, we think.

Question:
Were you personally involved at all in the assessment process?

Answer:
No, we weren't. This was all done outside.

Question:
How did you determine who would be best to do that?

Answer:
Through word-of-mouth communications with other departments. We knew that the San Jose chief of police was an extremely good individual. He brought along another party, and then we had a CRS consultant we had worked with before that had done some assessments for police departments, so we brought him in. Then the other two were from Denver, not the Denver police department, but from the suburbs of Denver.

Question:
And were the locals, either el Comite or the local police involved at all in deciding who these people would be?

Answer:
No. They accepted our decisions, since we were paying for it. I think that's why they accepted it. And, you know, chiefs of police talk with one another all over the country, so they know what's going on. So when we named that fellow from San Jose, I'm sure the chief of police here knew of him, and was more than willing to accept him as one of the team, and knowing him, even without knowing the others, it closed the deal.

Question:
The assessment took how long?

Answer:
I think it took pretty close to three weeks. The time they came in, the orientation, and then they began and then they finished it off and then the report came back in.

Question:
What kinds of things were they looking at?

Answer:
I think they were looking at police structure, chain of command, also the chain of command pointed out who was in charge that evening, and the person in charge that evening should not have been in charge because he didn't hold rank. Also what type of training they had received, how long their training has been, what is the relationship between the department and the city managers? Are they in conflict or not, what's going on? Especially what type of human relations training the officers were receiving after their police academy training. Because all the recruits for the department go through the Colorado State Police Academy. So they wanted to know what has followed up since the academy training. Also the size of the department, should it be larger or smaller? They also looked at turnover. Were too many officers leaving, and coming in and so on? If that's the case, why, so they look at all these little problem areas that the department has, and see if it's happening too often or if it's pretty stable. That gives them an idea of maybe why these things do occur.

Question:
Then they share this information with the community?

Answer:
Yes.

Question:
With the chief first?

Answer:
El Comite, the chief and city manager at the same time. And the community.

Question:
The community in a public meeting, or was it a meeting of El Comite?

Answer:
With El Comite. They came into city council chambers, and they went over it. El Comite accepted it because the report said that they needed more Chicano officers. They were lacking the Chicano officers. They felt that perhaps more Chicano officers would be helpful. Also because there are some people that don't speak English, they're trying to find some bilingual officers. In this area, you won't find bilingual officers. You'll find people almost like myself, you speak so long you forget your own tongue. You kind of have to search and look for bilingual people. So that was one of their main concerns, as was human relations training. What are you training the officers, how do they know how to treat us, and why don't they treat us better? What is going on? So those are the things they really focused on. As far as command was concerned, they weren't too much interested in that. But they were interested in the human relations, and recruitment of officers.

Question:
Does El Comite and/ or CRS have a say in what the structure of the assessment was going to be, what questions were going to be asked, or was that pretty much determined by the people who were doing the assessment?

Answer:
The people who were doing the assessment. What probably was helpful though, that person we had used before, the one person who did police assessments, I'm sure that he knew what to look for or how to lead the committee into those areas that might be helpful to the community vs. some other areas that might not be helpful.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Coming out of Memphis, we had Lee Brown, who was a consultant for us, and a gentleman from the University of New York in Buffalo, come to Memphis to do a finding on the relationship between the black community and the police. Their job was to document exactly what occurs and what happens to complaints -- when they were made, everything that followed. Then I took that report, and conducted a two-day symposium on the findings of the report and what needed to be done. The mayor attended, the chief of police attended, the high-ranking police officers attended. We had a hundred people. And the Memphis leadership, the president of the NAACP, and we went through that report. Even those whites who expressed no concern, who saw all of this protest as unfounded, when they started to go through that report, they were astounded at the level of disrespect blacks had experienced. Just the whole body of action that occurred against blacks, or the lack of consideration they got, even when they filed a complaint. We had cases where people testified that they filed a complaint of police brutality, and that's when things really started. "Every time I pulled out of my driveway," they'd say, "I was stopped for something, and then I was verbally abused even if I was not physically abused." We just ran into all kinds of things.

Question:
And so the recommendations of the report were implemented?

Answer:
It moved things further along. But as long as there are races and attitudes, you have problems. You can come up with so many ways to curtail those attitudes, but the attitudes don't change. Christ has been trying to get us to love one another for two thousand years, but we still don't. When the police officer, every time there is a striking, knows there will be a full report and full investigation of that. I'm just talking about black citizens, anytime police find it necessary to strike a person, a citizen, then there ought to be a unit that does not want to be doing that. Quite often you cannot expect police to police themselves.






Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I was able to get the four police agencies together, and I brought the demands paper the community had put forth, and they looked at that. We helped them analyze number one, number two, number three. The head of one of the agencies said, "I'll take the rap for closing the festival. I didn't do it, but for the sake of resolving this I'll say I did it." We found also that the police association had insurance that covered all liabilities and damages so they wouldn't pay anything. Now, as for the apology wanted from the state police, they said, "No, they're not going to apologize for something they didn't do, it was a riot and it met the state criteria for a riot. So, they took actions based on the criteria for a riot and stopped it." I then met with the community group, and they came back with their response, but I brought them together again, and I went to the police agencies and got their response. Finally, I brought both sides together, and I shared the paper with the attorneys and the lawyer for the community and the community leaders. They had a female lawyer who was a veteran of civil rights wars back in the 70's. It was very quiet as she was reading, and she finally says, "Bullshit!" and throws the paper. She just threw it at them. I again said that this wasn't written in concrete, there was still room for discussion and nobody saw it as written in concrete. That is the purpose of coming together, why don't we talk about number one, and we discussed number one and we came to an agreement, and so on. The part of the apology worked out real nice because at the end of the sentence where it said no apology was necessary because they did not violate anybody's rights. We added the word "however", and added that if some people thought their rights were violated, then an apology is extended. So it could be read both ways.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Where did these sixteen points come from, were they just bullets that you put down?

Answer:
Yeah. What they said they were going to do. They came out of the agreement. We got there a different kind of way, but everybody was satisfied.

Question:
And you had no idea you were writing an agreement when you were taking notes?

Answer:
No, just notes. I always take notes.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Every time we enter a situation we change the equation let's say. What we try to do is have it change positively. But if it seems like it's a negative change, they need to let me know because I don't want to be doing that. I have too much work already, I don't need to be there if I don't have to. If you think I can do some good and you think we can work together and I can help you work to get there, well then I'll continue. But if you don't think so, let me know because there are other communities out that have been begging me forever to come over there and help them out.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Ultimately, they finally agreed that the department needed to better understand how to handle a riotous conditions. They felt that there was excessive force, and the police tried to justify why they did it. Those were the problems that were surfacing, and the friction was going on. So, ultimately we decided that we did do a partial assessment. We did it, it was just a matter of talking to the chief, some of the command officers, the community, and within that we made an assessment of what the problem was, in a little more accurate, rather than emotional way. The outcome was, finally, that they felt that the university could carry on a training program for the police department. So the community contacted a Hispanic professor at the university, and he put a program together on human relations and they then presented that to the police department. And the police department, after review, accepted that. In the meantime we brought in also some consultants to assist in the training. So the university, and I think there were two people from our department that assisted too. We provided ongoing training for the police department over a period of six month's time. That's all we were able to do. The community was happy with that because they were involved in the development of the training. They thought that was something very worthwhile.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Whatever the conflict might have been, you looked at it and then you assessed it. You made an assessment of the situation. An assessment is simply a rule of thumb, more or less, where you go in and try to identify what the conflict is about, what the issues are, and who's been hurt. Have there been any injuries, any violence, anything like that, the important stuff to the overall community? You kind of evaluate it or analyze it. What level of tension is this? Is there a high degree of tension? Are people pulling guns on each other, or are they speaking low and whispering?

Question:
And how were you able to get that information?

Answer:
Observation, experience, training.....you had training in this agency. We spent a lot of time going through tactics and strategies and so forth. You learned how to do that, and your experience helped you too, so that you could just look at the situation and determine, "Hey, this is something that's really heavy. This is something that we really have got to become involved in." So you shared that information with your colleagues and others to determine whether or not you should be involved.

Question:
Was there a minimum or maximum number of cases you could be involved in? Did you gauge them or was it a little bit more free for all, where you were able to use your own judgment?

Answer:
We basically used our own judgment all the time. When we were on-site, in the midst of things, it had to be your judgment and then you would report back to certain coordinators or supervisors or directors, as to what your observations might have been. And then once you did that, you came back and tried to discuss a strategy or plan for how you were going to approach this situation to try to, number one: diffuse the tension, and number two: see if you could get everybody to talk, come together. If you could not do that, you went back and discussed, and identified a number of resources that you were going to need to get certain things done. And so after you did that, you charged off into the woods.






Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Clearly, we had to work the ethnicity out of it first, then the stature of the organization, how long they'd been in existence, because they were non-profit and volunteer groups. We were also interested in the type of leadership that they brought to the table.

Question:
You just said something very interesting, "You had to work the ethnicity out of it." How do you do that?

Answer:
Very carefully. First of all, by trying to bring equity to the table in terms of numbers -- numbers of the organizations. And one of the things that happened here and it happened in other cities, is bringing back to the table individuals who did not currently have a title with the organization, but had held a title before and were highly respected. We asked them to come to the table and be sort of senior, elder spokespeople and bring unity, and that worked very well.

Question:
Did you try to get equal numbers of each race, or did you try to do something proportionately?

Answer:
I think proportionate to the organizations who actually signed to be members of the coalition.

Question:
And this was open to anybody who wanted to be included?

Answer:
Correct.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It's part of the process that we sometimes initiate. We want them to begin to feel that we're an extension of their dispute and that there is going to be an end to this dispute that would be satisfactory. When we begin, very early on, we'll begin to talk about the win-win situation. It won't mean much to them initially, but we'll talk about it anyway. And we'll plant a seed about that. That's our own scope also. "Remember that when we were here, we were talking about a win-win situation?" We wouldn't define it, but we were talking about the fact that the only way we could be of any help was if it was a win-win situation.

Question:
What happens if you look at the assessment and you can't come up with the win-win; it really looks like a win-lose? What do you do?

Answer:
Generally, we'll try to exit ourselves as politely as we can. If a mediator has been on the scene, a mediator's reputation is at stake, so he'll come to me as the regional director, and then I will make the call. I'll say to the school superintendent and to the leadership, "Based on our assessment, and our workload," I'll even use that, "It'll be awhile before we can get back into your community."

Question:
What were some of those red flags that you looked at to determine whether or not it would be a win-win or a win-lose situation? What were some of the flags that came up?

Answer:
Different, so-called hidden agendas. Even though they put some disputes on paper and back it up with words, they often have something else at stake. Typical of that is a leader wanting a job.

Question:
Wanting a job?

Answer:
Wanting a job. Eventually we find out that there have been interviews and that individual is up for it. Sometimes they will tell us that, but the focus of that leader is that particular job. The other one that's very common is the fact that they want to fire somebody. Flat out, I'll say, "We're not the school board, we're not the school superintendent. If the principal goes or stays we have nothing to say. You do, because you're in the community, you're a parent, or a community leader, a community organization. But we have nothing to do with that. And that's not an issue we're going to accept."







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