Roswell to pay $77K for external audit of police department

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

The city of Roswell is going to pay an outside consultant to take a closer look at its police department.

At a meeting on Monday, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a contract between the city and the Center for Public Safety Management LLC to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the Roswell Police Department. Per the contract, the consulting services will not exceed the amount of $77,750.

This move by the council comes after former members of the police department being involved in a handful of controversial incidents in the past year.

On Jan. 2, body camera footage showed officers leaving a 13-year-old boy in a squad car on a cold night and taunting him. On March 10, officers pulled over an off-duty officer and let him go after he admitted to speeding and drinking under the influence of alcohol. On April 7, body camera footage showed two officers deciding whether or not to send a woman to jail by flipping a coin.

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Funding for the audit will come from the Roswell’s police department’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

The city reviewed eight proposals for outside audits from various firms and had a committee rank and grade them. In a proposal from CPSM to Roswell dated Aug. 6, the consulting firm writes, “We understand that the police department is currently suffering from a series of incidents which have raised questions about the professionalism and culture of the agency.”

CPSM is based in Washington, D.C., and has conducted audits and projects in 41 states. In the proposal to Roswell, it says it will conduct data-driven analysis, identify and recommend appropriate staffing levels, review policies and procedures, examine the department’s organizational structure and culture, recommend a management framework to ensure accountability, conduct interviews, review internal affairs, and conduct other analysis of the department.

In a Sept. 17 memo to the city’s attorney, police chief and human resources director, City Administrator Gary Palmer recommended the audit and wrote, “Concurrent with our internal investigations, we felt it necessary to engage the services of a professional consulting firm that specializes in this area due to the serious nature and implications of the issues and in order to do a comprehensive unbiased assessment of the entire Police Department from the outside.”

Palmer also wrote in the memo that, out of CPSM and another finalist, CPSM was “best qualified but also the least expensive.” According to a document sent from city purchasing manager Greg Anderson on Sept. 6 to Palmer, CPSM was given a grade of 84.4 out of 100. None of the other firms scored higher than a 78.7.

According to the project schedule cited in CPSM’s proposal, the audit could take about seven months to complete.

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