City hires director for Office of Independent Review

Fresno City Manager Mark Scott introduces Rick Rasmussen, the new director of the city’s Office of Independent Review.Fresno City Manager Mark Scott introduces Rick Rasmussen, the new director of the city’s Office of Independent Review.The city of Fresno announced today that it has hired a new director for the Office of Independent Review, a position that has been vacant for over a year.

City Manager Mark Scott introduced Rick Rasmussen, who is currently the administrator of Salt Lake City’s Civilian Review Board, at a press conference held at city hall this morning. Rasmussen will work 20 hours per week at the position until the end of fiscal year 2013 while continuing to work for Salt Lake City until his transition to Fresno.

“Rick Rasmussen has earned a reputation across the country as one of the leaders in his field,” Scott said. “His commitment to transparency and communication helped restore public confidence in Salt Lake City’s Civilian Review Board, and those qualities, along with his integrity and problem-solving ability, will be critical to the success of our Office of Independent Review in Fresno.”

Rasmussen will work independently of the Fresno Police Department chain of command in an effort to provide city leaders and the public with an objective, third party analysis of internal investigations to ensure those investigations are conducted in a thorough, fair and unbiased manner.

Fresno’s previous Office of Independent Review closed in June 2011 due to budget constraints after being in operation for one year.

Rasmussen, a retired supervisory special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, flew F-16s as a fighter pilot with the U.S. Air Force and graduated from the Air Force Academy. He said he is looking forward to his new job, which begins today.

“I’m excited about coming to Fresno and embarking on this new challenge,” Rasmussen said.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who speculated that Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker might not be too thrilled about sharing Rasmussen with the city of Fresno, accompanied Scott at the press conference.

“Mayor Becker is not very happy with me today,” Swearengin said.

Scott said that Rasmussen’s first priority would be to meet with community groups and familiarize himself with police department officials and processes. His office will be located at city hall and will have a staff assistant who will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.