Professor Feld Joins Post-RNC Public Safety Commission
OCTOBER 6, 2008—Professor Barry C. Feld ('69) has been asked to serve on the Republican National Convention Public Safety Planning and Implementation Commission, a review panel recently proposed by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman ('87) and unanimously approved by the St. Paul City Council. Its purpose is to investigate security outside the Xcel Energy Center during the Sept. 1-4 Republican National Convention.
Former U.S. attorney Tom Heffelfinger ('75) and former assistant U.S. attorney Andy Luger will lead the independent Commission and intend to focus on "law enforcement's interactions with the community." They selected Commission members based on an in-depth background in law enforcement or the criminal justice system. In addition to Feld, an expert on juvenile justice, other members at this time are Bob Hernz, former police chief and public-safety director for Golden Valley, and Mary Vukelich, a private investigator and former police officer in Woodbury with experience in financial crimes. The co-directors will select two more participants from the St. Paul community to complete the seven-member Commission.
Law enforcement officers have been accused of unnecessary use of force, mass arrests, and other crowd-control measures before and during the convention. The Commission will interview planners and security officers to analyze the public safety plan, and it will review videotapes and documents to evaluate the plan's execution. At least one public hearing to gather input and suggestions from the public is planned. The Commission hopes to have a report available by Dec. 15, 2008.
The review of police intelligence-gathering and decision-making will benefit both local citizens and other cities hosting large events, Mayor Coleman noted. St. Paul is funding the project and has requested support from a U.S. Department of Justice grant for convention security.