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City of Kalamazoo selects OIR Group to conduct independent review of KDPS

The City of Kalamazoo today announced the selection of California-based OIR Group to conduct a Use-of-Force Study of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. The consulting firm, led by a former federal civil rights prosecutor, specializes in the independent review of police practices.

“I am pleased to announce we have selected the OIR Group to conduct a Use-of Force Study and provide an independent review of KDPS’ policies, practices and protocols,” said Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema. “We are committed to transparency and accountability and we believe this external, independent review will allow us to continuously improve our practices and approach.”

The scope of work for the $75,000 contract – which was approved by Ritsema – includes:

  • Reviewing KDPS’ handling of the events that transpired between May 30 and June 2 and the incidents surrounding the Proud Boys’ visit to Kalamazoo on Aug. 15
  • Performing a comparative analysis of the two events through an equity lens
  • Interviewing a group of protestors and eyewitnesses about police activities
  • Evaluating KDPS’s use of force during the protests and its impact on related criminal activity, including the KDPS’s decision to use non-lethal munitions on May 30, 2020, to June 2, 2020, and on August 15, 2020, and
  • Collecting data from other law enforcement agencies that assisted during these events

In total, the City of Kalamazoo received four responses to the RFP issued Sept. 8. Other respondents include: Diligence, LLC of Bluffton, S. C., Police Foundation of Arlington V.A., and Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L. of Coral Gables, Fla.

“We selected the OIR Group to conduct this independent review based on their deep experience and proven track record reviewing and assessing all aspects of law enforcement organizations,” said Vernon Payne, chair of the City of Kalamazoo Citizen Public Safety Appeal Review Board. “I’m confident OIR’s diverse team, commitment to looking at this from an equity lens and willingness to consider other issues beyond policing will help provide a clear picture of what happened during these events and help us address similar issues in the future. I wholeheartedly believe OIR Group is best equipped to help identify areas of opportunity that will help KDPS improve relations with our community.”

The OIR Group was selected to receive the $75,000 contract by a three-person vendor selection team of City of Kalamazoo Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion Dorla Bonner, Citizen Public Safety Appeal Review Board chair Payne and board member Oliver Howell. The selection process included:

  • Review and scoring of proposals,
  • Reference checks, and
  • Interviews with the selection team

All work will be completed in a three-phase process that includes kick off and data collection, analysis, collaboration and deliverables, and public reporting.

The OIR Group will provide monthly reports to the City Manager’s Office and the Citizens Public Safety Review and Appeals Board during the contract period.

Additionally, the consultant will provide a final written report of its findings that will include recommendations to improve KDPS’s protocols and policies related to the events under review, which will then be made public.

City of Kalamazoo

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