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'Tired of running interference': Sacramento mayor sides with police review commissioner on rules

Sacramento police review commissioner Keyan Bliss spoke to city officials Tuesday seeking clarification over the community group's status

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Mayor Darrell Steinberg agreed with Sacramento Community Police Review commissioner Keyan Bliss Tuesday when he requested the commission continue its work without current restrictions.

During public comment Bliss said the city clerk and city attorney's office told commissioners they were prohibited from putting any topics up for discussion during meetings.

This restriction was set to be in place until their 2023 workplan is approved by the Personnel and Public Employees (P&PE) Committee.

"Which means we cannot begin our work without direct approval of the P&PE Committee, and (that) was not what we were actually discussing when we were negotiating with the plan," said Bliss. "I do not see any language that explicitly prohibits our commission from agendizing discussion projects related to our proposed projects, priorities and recommendations."

Bliss was referencing a proposed updated 2023 City Council Rules of Procedure, which went on to be approved by city officials.

With the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission's next meeting coming up March 14, Bliss said he wanted to clarify the situation as soon as possible.

City officials respond on the spot

While city councilmembers rarely respond directly to public commenters, Mayor Darrell Steinberg told Bliss he wants all city commissions to work with the P&PE Committee.

Steinberg said the P&PE Committee will be responsible for approving the information Sacramento Police Department must provide to the police community review commission.

"Once it's approved by P&PE, you can then go do your work without any of the worry about the fighting that will go on about what you're entitled to, not entitled to — that's the purpose of this," said Steinberg.

He said he agreed with Bliss the commission should be able to work and have discussions without restrictions to their public meeting agendas.

City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood said she's working with the City Clerk's Office and the commission's city staff member to find a way the commission can move forward with its work without interfering with the ongoing P&PE Committee review.

While Steinberg's had frequent public disagreements with the police review commission over the years, he said it's time for city officials to stop telling the commission what they can or can't do.

"I'm telling you I've spent more time running interference here — and I'm frankly getting tired of it because we go 'round and around," he said. "The issue is how does the city team work with these commissions?"

Head to the City of Sacramento's upcoming meetings page to watch the upcoming March 14 police review commission meeting.

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