Raleigh hires law-enforcement based company to review police department

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- 21CP Solutions will be paid at least $87,500 by the city of Raleigh to conduct an independent review of police policies.

A city memo showed Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown asked the city for their support in seeking an outside agency to assess her department’s overall procedures and performance during recent protests.

The chief sent that letter on June 8. City documents show by June 11, 21CP Solutions had already sent the city a plan and a three-phased plan. City manager, Ruffin Hall told council members he wanted to move quickly to get an independent review going as soon as possible.

Hall signed off on the contract without a vote from the council. During a Tuesday virtual meeting, he said a vote was not required. City attorney Robin Currin said she worked with the group during her time in Asheville.

“I think calling them independent is a bit of a stretch,” said council member Saige Martin. The council member was troubled that a company with deep ties to law enforcement would be paid to investigate law enforcement.

CBS 17 reached out to 21CP Solutions to ask about their work.

CBS 17 reviewed the company’s public roster. Out of the 24 listed employers, at least 18 are described as former law enforcement or affiliated with a law enforcement association. Two have North Carolina ties. One is listed as a former Chief of Police of the Greenville Police Department and another as a former Chief of Police for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.

Several members are associated with President Barrack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Review the 2015 findings of that report here.

“I think it’s disappointing that we didn’t find an alternative that brought forward a truly independent review,” said Martin.

A project overview document from the city shows 21CP Solutions will review department reports, training guidelines, and reports of the recent protests. It outlines meetings with Raleigh police and other agencies that assisted with protests response but community members.

CBS 17 reached out to the agency to learn about its work and role in Raleigh. 21 CP Solutions could not be reached for comment.

Three-phased plan

Below is the plan proposed to the city:

Phase I- Review:

21CP Principal Consultants will review all department documents related to the incident, including reports, memoranda, written policies, general orders, written procedures and training guides/outlines related to the use of force and response to mass gatherings/protests.

Phase II – Visit:

21 CP Principals will lead a site visit team to meet directly with the RPD Chief of Police, Department Training Coordinator, supervisory staff and officers. We will also meet with outside law enforcement agency personnel involved in the protest response and incidents as appropriate. 21CP staff will identify gaps in policy, procedure, training, or department custom that are inconsistent with Constitutional policing, national best practices and the policing philosophy adopted by the Raleigh PD.

Phase III – Written Report:

This work product will be accessible, straightforward, and direct. It will include detailed, pragmatic, and actionable guidance for the City and police department on how to improve and strengthen its performance. We will specifically highlight and address areas of concern identified by residents, community organizations, the Department, and its officers in 21CP’s stakeholder engagement process. 21CP will be available to address its findings, recommendations, and report to community stakeholders, city leaders, departmental personnel, and other groups as identified by the City.

Click here for more on the plan.

Track Record

CBS 17 did read through some of 21CP Solutions’ past reports. The company spent seven months working with Minnesota State Police on officer-involved deadly force encounters. They assisted in publishing a report in February 2020. Three months later, a police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Floyd’s death has been ruled a homicide.

21CP Solutions is only slated to be in a contract with Raleigh from June to mid-September, a significantly shorter time than they spent in Minnesota.

Sacramento, California hired 21CP Solutions in 2019 for an independent review of an investigation related to the shooting death of Stephon Clark. Clark was killed by a police officer while holding a cell phone. In its report, 21CP Solutions said the city’s use of force policy was outdated. They recommended Sacramento police update their use of force policy and create use of force board.

Click here to read that report.

In 2018, the company found police in Cincinnati, Ohio was not unreasonable in their response after 16-year-old Kyle Plush died in his minivan. Plush found himself pinned upside down between his backseat and the floorboard. He called 911 several times but police could not find him before he suffocated. Instead, his father found him the next morning.

The company was also hired in Seattle, December 2019. A 57-page report there found no “need for wholesale change but for additional fine-tuning and refinement” in the police department’s accountability system. South Bend, Indiana contracted their services in August 2019 after the officer-involved shooting death of Eric Logan. That report was never made public. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, 21CP Solutions’ report suggests the city does reality-based training focused on de-escalation.

While the city manager signed off on contracting 21CP Solutions for $87,500 but that cost can increase. That price can increase if the company needs to spend time on the review, if they need to widen their scope of work or if the city wants additional time with the company. The agency will line up a five-person team according to public documents.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories