LOVELAND, Colo. — In an hours-long meeting in Loveland Tuesday night, the idea of establishing a Trust Commission passed city council as the city and police department face intense scrutiny over the arrest of a 73-year-old woman with dementia in June 2020.
The focus of the city council meeting was the arrest of Karen Garner, the disturbing video caught on body cameras and inside the police department, as well as how best to rebuild trust between police and the community.
An email from Councilman Don Overcash described the commission's purpose would be "to understand the various issues impacting community trust, beginning with the Loveland Police Department, but not limited to that department."
The Community Trust Commission was outlined in the email as follows:
- The Commission will consist of 16 members of the Loveland community. Positions will be selected by application. Residence within the City limits will not be required.
- The City Manager and the City Attorney will serve as staff liaisons, bringing the total to 18 participants.
- A Chair will be selected by the entire commission once all the commission positions are filled.
- No sitting City Council members will be on the commission.
- To fill the 16 positions a temporary steering committee consisting of:
- Mayor Pro Tem
- Outside consultant contracted to chair the steering committee and assist with application process.
- The Ad Hoc Steering Committee will establish application criteria and present its participant recommendations to City Council for approval.
- Once the Commission is staffed and a Chair elected by majority of citizen participants, the steering committee will cease involvement. The outside consultant can continue serving the Commission in an advisor capacity.
- Then Commission will present Council with quarterly updates with the schedule established once a chair is elected.
- A final report with Action Steps identified will be presented to Council in September 2022.
- The Commission working with staff can implement action items prior to its termination date.
- The Commission will be in effect until September 30, 2022.
Overcash was the proponent of the Trust Commission, though some at the meeting questioned whether he was using it to boost his mayoral bid. When a councilmember asked him if the Trust Commission was announced at a campaign event, Overcash replied, “I announced at a town hall meeting, and yes, it's also a campaign event because it's quite known that I'm running for mayor."
The current mayor, Jackie Marsh, also questioned Overcash about his relationship with Loveland Police Chief Robert Ticer, who has come under fire due to the Garner arrest. Overcash said he has not discussed the commission with Ticer.
The discussion brought fiery public comment, which included response from people across the country.
It’s unclear if the passage of the motion is the final decision.
The arrest of Garner remains under investigation by the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Three of the officers involved are no longer with the department after an attorney for Garner has filed a federal lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department. A sergeant remains on administrative leave.