Casper Hosts Forum To Hear Comments About Police Department Today
The company hired by the City of Casper to conduct a thorough analysis of the Police Department will hear comments from the public at City Hall, 200 N. David St., from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, according to a news release.
City Council decided in March to hire the Center for Public Safety Management, LLC, to independently review the Police Department's strengths and areas needing improvement.
The decision came as tensions were rising after about a half year about the department's seeming lack of concern about sexual assault cases, and apparent discontent about former Police Chief Jim Wetzel's management of the department.
At the March work session, Wetzel recommended and council approved hiring the Center for Public Safety Management.
But the tensions erupted April 4 with the release of the results of a Fraternal Order of Police survey that cited problems with low morale among officers, a large number of officers saying they want to quit, Wetzel's authoritarian leadership, and low staffing numbers among other issues.
On April 17, most sworn officers in the department cast a vote of "no confidence" in Wetzel as part of a demand for a change in leadership.
On May 5, Interim City Manager Liz Becher announced Wetzel was fired. Capt. Steve Schulz was named interim chief.
Wetzel and local business leaders later castigated the council and Becher.
Meanwhile, the Center for Public Management's work has continued.
It has completed the first part of the analysis. It conducted a data-driven review of the department's workload, staffing, deployment, operations, and support services.
It is visiting Casper, and wants to hear from the community at today's forum.
One segment of the community agreed to not attend.
At its work session Tuesday, Casper City Council members decided to stay away from the discussion so people would not feel constrained when they discuss the police department.
Likewise, police department employees will not attend the event.