Apr 4, 2024 - News

Philly's CPOC hires more new staff

Illustration of a police light on top of a "Help Wanted" sign.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The Citizens Police Oversight Commission announced four new hires, including two investigators, at this week's meeting.

Why it matters: The additions are a crucial development for an organization criticized for slowly building out its investigative unit as it works toward becoming a national model in police oversight.

Driving the news: The commission voted Tuesday to hire incoming executive director Tonya McClary, a former Dallas police monitor.

  • McClary, a lawyer and pastor, will relocate to Philadelphia before her May start date.
  • She'll earn $175,000 annually in her new role, taking over for interim executive director Anthony Erace.

What they're saying: Commissioner Rosaura Torres Thomas compared McClary to Mayor Cherelle Parker, who is known as a forceful orator.

  • Commissioners thanked Erace for shepherding the agency since it was established by the City Council in 2021 as the successor to the Police Advisory Commission.

The latest: The commission hired chief investigator Nicholas Kato, investigator Jeffrey Hussein and communications manager Jodie Eichel, bringing the staff to nearly two dozen — many more than the three-person staff McClary was a part of in Dallas.

  • Hussein started as a city intern years ago and has spent most of his career working for city overseers, including the Inspector General's office and former controller and mayoral candidate Rebecca Rhynhart.
  • Kato and Hussein will work under director of investigations Jamison Rogers, a former Chester City police officer.

Friction point: Commissioner Hassan Bennett, a murder exoneree, said CPOC needed investigators who understand the "justice side of the law," especially as the police union looks to stymie the commission's ability to conduct misconduct investigations into police officers.

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