The Independent Community Police Oversight Commission met Tuesday to discuss the use of facial recognition software and the Ann Arbor Police Department budget. Much of the discussions were similar in topic to their last meeting, where the commission discussed complaint procedures and budget cuts.
Commissioner and Chair Lisa Jackson started the meeting with a discussion on training requirements for commissioners to the oversight committee, which have been discussed in previous meetings. Jackson asked commissioners to report training they have received, outlined the training guidelines and then recommended a Georgetown University seminar on the subject.
“We’re going to come up with some lists of training that should be required of all commissioners, and maybe additional or different training that should be required for those commissioners who were involved in complaint review,” Jackson said. “Sort of a comprehensive list of what we think people will need to know, chief among them is the 13 principles of effective oversight.”
According to Jackson, these principles include independence, clearly defined authority, having unfettered access to records, access to law enforcement executives and staff, collaboration from law enforcement, sustained stakeholder support, adequate funding and operational resources, public reporting transparency policy and pattern analysis, community outreach, community involvement, confidentiality, and procedural justice, and legitimacy.
“We want to make sure that everybody is familiar with those principles,” Jackson said.
The committee then moved on to an update to their new complaint review process, which Commissioner Frances-Hargreaves said they are almost done with.
“We’ve been working with attorney Arianne Slay and the deputy chiefs, meeting regularly on getting together a process that’s going to be more timely,” Todoro-Hargreaves said. “We just have a few more things to confirm and then I’m going to be sending the policy out to all of you.”
The complaint service will consist of the committee receiving complaints on the 10th of every month. Then, each complaint will have three commissioners on the case who will have resources available to review subjects. The current system the committee is under allows commissioners to investigate cases if they do not receive a report on complaints from AAPD within 30 days.
In new business, the committee disapproved of the theoretical future use of facial recognition software, citing misuses and malfunctions of the program, including the wrongful arrest of Robert Williams in Detroit in January 2020.
“I think a lot of people understand that artificial intelligence and the algorithms that run it are absolutely mathematical,” Jackson said. “However, they weren’t built with people of color in mind, and therefore they do a horrific job of identifying people of color. They also do a terrible job of identifying women and they also do a very poor job of identifying children.”
Misidentification has been linked to the inability to discern small changes in facial features.
Councilmember Linh Song, D-Ward 2, echoed sentiments of the commissioners for the support of a preemptive ban on facial recognition technology as a “statement of values.”
On budget concerns for the police department, the commissioners were in agreement that some police funds should be reallocated to mental health and social services. The process for approving a budget for the department will begin in April.
“We would like more help for people with drug overdose crises, and we would like some alternatives to policing in those positions,” Jackson said.
The last part of the agenda was a report on outreach by the committee. Commissioner Anan Ameri created a bus poster advocating for the community to be involved with ICPOC. The poster, along with Ameri’s other outreach program with Avalon Housing, was praised by the rest of the committee.
“I’m very, very happy that all the buses in Ann Arbor now will have this in their buses,” Ameri said.
Daily Staff Reporter Daniel Muenz can be reached at email@example.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown challenges at all of us — including The Michigan Daily — but that hasn’t stopped our staff. We’re committed to reporting on the issues that matter most to the community where we live, learn and work. Your donations keep our journalism free and independent. You can support our work here.
For a weekly roundup of the best stories from The Michigan Daily, sign up for our newsletter here.