May 4, 2023 - News

Procedural screwup at CPOC delays nomination

Illustration of a "hello my name is..." sticker shaped like a police badge.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Philadelphia's police watchdog was set to greenlight a top official this week — but was undone by a procedural kerfuffle.

Driving the news: Catherine Twigg, a deputy attorney general at the Pennsylvania AG’s office, already accepted an offer to become general counsel of the Citizens Police Oversight Commission (CPOC), commissioners revealed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Yes, but: Commissioner Rosaura Torres Thomas said the board violated protocol by not first publicly approving the nomination before an offer was extended to Twigg — who already has a start date.

Why it matters: General counsel is one of the most important roles at CPOC, which can issue subpoenas to compel police officers to participate in the commission’s investigations.

What's happening: The agency has been under fire from within its own ranks for not hiring a permanent executive director almost two years after being established by City Council.

  • Now this week's vote on Twigg was delayed because of the procedural flap.
  • The board will soon reconvene at a special meeting to sign off on Twigg’s appointment, commission chair Jahlee Hatchett tells Axios.

What they’re saying: It’s paramount for the board to follow its own rules as a watchdog of another powerful government agency, said Torres Thomas: “When things are not done correctly in the office, everything can go haywire.”

Details: Twigg was among two candidates brought in for a second round of interviews, per the commissioners.

  • The board’s top choice – whom Torres Thomas identified to Axios as Tracy Tripp, a former prosecutor in Larry Krasner’s office – declined the offer.

The candidate: Twigg, a Temple law school graduate, declined to comment. She works in the civil rights and fair labor section of the AG’s office.

  • She investigated police misconduct in Washington D.C. and New York and interned with the Justice Department and the Defender Association of Philadelphia, according to her LinkedIn profile.

What we’re watching: Hatchett tells Axios he expects an offer will be made this month to one of five finalists for CPOC’s executive director.


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