Squire Patton Boggs Partner Leading Ferguson Monitor Team: "Eyes Of The Nation Are Watching"
Squire Patton Boggs was appointed as independent monitor for the City of Ferguson this week. SPB partner Clark Ervin will lead the team.
"Ferguson in particular has such an iconic place in the national consciousness," Clark told us yesterday, "that the success of the city and Department of Justice here in reforming the police department and the court system can really signal to the nation that reform of police departments all across the country is really possible."
"If it can be done in Ferguson, it can be done everywhere else. The rest of the team and I know that the eyes of the nation are watching us," he continues. "What's happened since Ferguson underscores the degree to which this is a major issue at the front and center of the national agenda."
Clark spoke with us by phone from the Aspen Security Forum, a national security conference he runs every summer. He's a former inspector general of the State Department and the first-ever inspector general of DHS, posts that he says very much inform his role leading the monitor team.
Inspectors General are really monitors for the agencies that they oversee, he says, using tools like audits and investigations. Where improvements are noted, it's also part of the IG's job to monitor whether the agency is implementing the resulting recommendations.
Squire Patton Boggs' appointment by the DOJ and Ferguson City Council to lead the independent monitoring team is pursuant to a Consent Decree between the DOJ and Ferguson agreed to in March. The Consent Decree is a very detailed and prescriptive document, Clark tells us, much more so than they generally tend to be.
Under the agreement, the law firm is overseeing the implementation of reforms to "bring about constitutional and effective policing, promote officer and public safety, ensure fundamental fairness and equal treatment regardless of race in the municipal court and foster greater trust between police officers and the communities they serve," said Squire Patton Boggs in a statement.
The firm was chosen as Ferguson's independent monitor from nine applicants, in a process that included a meeting and Q&A with interested members of the community.
That meeting was "terrific," Clark says. "In my experience there, the community is incredibly invested in making sure those reforms take place."
He's planning on keeping "office hours" during his monthly visits to Ferguson so members of the community can drop by and share their opinions with him directly. Clark tells us his next visit to the city will be before the Sept. 7 hearing for an update on progress, likely in mid-August.
Others on the monitor team include Squire Patton Boggs government investigation and white collar practice chair Samuel Rosenthal, former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, CUNY John Jay College law professor Delores Jones-Brown, Washington University Law School professor Kimberly Norwood, Forensic Risk Analysis founder Frances McLeod, marketing, advertising and consumer survey expert Tom Maronick, and Collora LLP lawyer and former police officer and federal prosecutor Natashia Tidwell.