Clackamas County commissioners have hired a consultant for an independent review of how the sheriff investigates complaints.
The consultant is OIR Group, whose two principals have played key roles in an ongoing review of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the nation's largest sheriff's department. Both principals are lawyers; one of them lives in Hood River.
But Michael Gennaco, one of the principals, said in their proposal for an independent review, "much of our work has been reviewing law enforcement agencies similar in size to Clackamas County," which has a total staff of 446, making it one of Oregon's largest.
Both principals also have been involved in reviews for the Portland city auditor of officer-involved shootings by the Portland Police Bureau.
OIR Group was chosen from among five proposals presented to the county staff for review.
"You are hiring an objective, independent, candid evaluator," said County Counsel Stephen Madkour, who reviewed the proposals along with County Administrator Don Krupp and Deputy Administrator Laurel Butman. They did not recommend a specific consultant and left that decision to the commissioners.
They said the scope of work, not to exceed $40,000, will be determined with the consultant. The target completion date is Oct. 30.
That satisfied Commissioner Sonya Fischer, who complained about a lack of public transparency. "This is not getting where I want to go," she said.
Commissioner Paul Savas and Chairman Jim Bernard did not offer specific reasons for their choice.
Commissioner Ken Humberston abstained from voting — he is a retired probation officer and has worked in law enforcement — and Commissioner Martha Schrader was absent.
The action by commissioners Tuesday came after an earlier request by Sheriff Craig Roberts, who said he has made changes recommended by another outside consultant in protocols for child-abuse reports.
Impetus for review
The impetus for outside reviews stems from a criminal prosecution of a former sheriff's detective, Jeffrey Green, who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges on June 29 and was sentenced in Clackamas County Circuit Court to one year of probation and a fine.
He was charged with official misconduct in connection with failure to investigate numerous criminal cases, including reports of child abuse.
Green retired in 2015 after 22 years in the office, six of them as a detective. As part of his sentence, Green lost his certification as a police officer.
Roberts drew criticism, particularly from a public member of the county budget committee, for how his office handled the internal investigation of Green and the assignment, tracking and other procedures for child-abuse cases.
Ed Mura of Colton cast the lone vote against committee approval of the budget on June 6. He praised Sgt. Matt Swanson by name for his perseverance in investigating Green, but criticized Roberts and others on the sheriff's management team for numerous problems in the agency.
The two principals in OIR Group are Gennaco and Robert Miller, who now lives in Hood River.
Gennaco was chief attorney and Miller deputy chief attorney from 2001 to 2014 at the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review, which was responsible for oversight of the sheriff's department.
Miller was assistant inspector general of a new Los Angeles County office overseeing patrol and custody functions of the sheriff from 2014 until 2016.
Ten convictions have occurred — including former Sheriff Lee Baca, who has been sentenced to three years in federal prison — since an investigation began into the Los Angeles County sheriff. It began with investigations of federal civil rights violations by deputies related to beatings of jail inmates and a visitor — and then a conspiracy by top sheriff's executives to impede the FBI investigation of the jail.
Baca said he was unaware of what his subordinates were doing, but after the first proceeding last year ended in a mistrial — the vote was 11-1 for his acquittal — he was convicted of obstruction of justice and other charges in U.S. District Court on March 15.
OIR Group was chosen for the Clackamas County review over two other consulting firms with national reputations — Police Assessment Resource Center, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles and New York, and Hillard Heintze, based in Chicago.
Others submitting proposals were Lawman Investigations LLC based in Phoenix, and Jeffry Randall Phillips, who commands the audit division of the Los Angeles Police Department and also does consulting work for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.