The City of Loveland has hired an outside law enforcement and public safety consulting firm to conduct reviews of its police department following the forceful arrest of Karen Garner in June 2020, according to a news release from the city Thursday afternoon.
The firm Hillard Heintze will conduct a professional standards investigation related to Garner's arrest and to examine the Loveland Police Department's policies, practices and procedures.
Video footage of the June 2020 arrest of Karen Garner, who was 73 at the time and has dementia, after she left a Walmart forgetting to pay for about $15 worth of items shows then-officers Daria Jalali and Austin Hopp forcefully subduing her. Garner's dementia and sensory aphasia limit her ability to communicate, officials have said.
Other footage of officers' behavior during the several hours she was in custody shows them mocking the incident and Garner's injuries, which included a dislocated shoulder and broken arm.
Garner did not receive medical care until much later in the evening.
Jalali and Hopp resigned at the end of April, and each face criminal charges related to the incident. The police department also announced it will require officers to go through training for interactions with people who have dementia.
According to the release from Loveland, the Louisville Metro Police Department chose the firm to investigate after Breonna Taylor's death. The firm also assessed Minneapolis' response to unrest in the wake of George Floyd's murder.
“Engaging in an independent review of this incident is an important step to ensure trust and credibility in our police practices,” said Loveland City Manager Steve Adams in the release. “Accountability is essential and we feel the urgency to move forward with this experienced consulting firm to better understand how to move forward.”
The investigation of Garner's arrest will take about two months, says the release. Hillard Heintze received a contract worth up to $152,500.
After the investigation of Garner's arrest, the firm will develop a "roadmap" for the police department's future and interview City Council members, other city stakeholders, police department staff and community members. The release says this assessment will take about three to four months.
Police Chief Bob Ticer said in the release, “This independent assessment offers the men and women of the LPD a chance to highlight our strengths and learn more about our opportunities for growth. I fully support this process and have pledged to cooperate with the City in any way necessary to ensure the assessment team has access and insight into what’s needed to thoroughly satisfy the objectives of this endeavor.”
According to the release, community forums are planned for later in the summer as part of the process.