Released yesterday, the list of finalists for the open Independent Monitor position features three natives of the Golden State. The finalists bring experience at the Offices of Independent Review in their current homes of Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange County. From here, the finalists will be whittled down to the second conduct review warden in the city's history. Denver's first Independent Monitor, Richard Rosenthal, resigned in December.
The position, which pays $132,359 per year, brought Rosenthal to Denver from Portland in 2005, when then-Mayor John Hickenlooper created the gig. The dominant function of the Independent Monitor is to analyze and review all investigations of officer misconduct within the Denver Police Department and Sheriff Department. After this process, the monitor submits a recommendation for action to the the manager of safety, now Alex Martinez. During Rosenthal's tenure, his recommendations frequently differed from the police department's in huge public cases such as that of Michael DeHerrera, assaulted on-camera in 2009.
Every year, the monitor releases four quarterly reports and one annual report on the city's law enforcement. Rosenthal's final annual report is on view below.
With the forthcoming new monitor, most of the top faces involved in Denver's review of police misconduct allegations will be new to their positions. Police Chief Robert White took on his role in December and later installed Mary Beth Klee at the top of Internal Affairs and Michael Battista as the head of the newly created Conduct Review Department. New Manager of Safety Alex Martinez also created a new oversight position, positioning Jess Vigil as the deputy manager of police discipline.
The screening committee accepted 110 applications for Rosenthal's replacement since it began searching in January. Only 47 met the job requirements, and the panel invited nine for interviews. Six accepted, and three made it to this stage.
The first, Eddie Aubrey, is a prosecuting attorney for the city of Renton, California. Before that, he worked in the Office of Independent Review in Fresno, California and as a judge pro tempore with the King County District Court in Washington. For ten years, he served as as prosecuting attorney in the same county after stints as a police officer in Santa Monica and Los Angeles.
The second, Julie Ruhlin, serves as the deputy chief attorney for the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review. Before that, Ruhlin was a consultant for the county sheriff department's Police Resource Center.
The third, Stephen Connolly, works as the executive director for the Office of Independent Review in Orange County, before which he was tasked with civilian oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department as an attorney. He has also served as a special review auditor for law enforcement in San Diego County, Torrance and Inglewood.
Before one candidate is selected, citizens will be able to meet all three at two community forums. The first, this Wednesday, lasts from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mi Casa Resource Center For Women, 360 Acoma Street. The second, this Thursday, lasts the same hours at the Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center, 3334 Holly Street.
Read our previous cover feature on Rosenthal: "Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal keeps a close eye on the Denver police."
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Read Rosenthal's final report here: Independent Monitor Annual report 2011
More from our News archive: "Police misconduct: New review commander suggested suspension for DeHerrera officers."