PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

12/7/2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM:120718A
Subject:
Outside Review of Police Department Direct Messaging Application Complete
City Manager to implement findings and additional recommendations
Contact:
Kevin Lee
Public Affairs Officer
City Manager’s Office
562.570.6811
Kevin.Lee@longbeach.gov




On September 21, 2018, the City Manager and the City Attorney initiated an outside, independent review of the Long Beach Police Department’s use of a direct messaging application called Tiger Connect. The review included: the origin and implementation of the messaging application within the Police Department and the Technology and Innovation Department; City policies and procedures related to mobile device messaging; how the messaging app was utilized; policies and procedures for documentation of evidence; the City’s record retention policies; best practices for law enforcement entities related to messaging applications; compliance with state law; and any other relevant topics. 

“It was vital to independently review the use of this messaging application and thoroughly examine the concerns raised by the City Council, public and the media,” said City Manager Patrick H. West.

The review was conducted by Gary Schons, of Best Best & Krieger. Mr. Schons is a career prosecutor and administrator, public agency attorney with 42 years of experience as a litigator, criminal justice professional, and public integrity compliance legal advisor.  Prior to joining BB&K, Mr. Schons served as deputy district attorney and senior advisor for Law & Policy in the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, advising the District Attorney and her executive staff on legal, public integrity, legislative and policy issues, and provided legal assistance to all 300 deputy district attorneys in the office.

The independent review is now complete and available to the public for review at the dedicated website the City created to house documents related to Tiger Connect. The review consisted of examining all relevant documents related to Tiger Connect; interviews of key City personnel involved in the procurement, administration, and use of the messaging app; best practice review and legal research; investigation of any impacts on litigation and court cases with the City Attorney, City Prosecutor, and District Attorney; and attempted contact with the individuals who made anonymous complaints with news organizations to independently investigate their allegations. 

After extensive review, the report concluded that the use of Tiger Connect in the Police Department complied with State law related to records retention, complied with State law related to the California Public Records Act, was purchased in conformance with the spending approval and technology acquisition policies of the Police Department and City, and that there was no evidence to support claims of illegal use or misuse of the Tiger Connect app by the Police Department and no complaints or reports or adverse effects in criminal or civil cases. For a full list of findings, please view the full report here: http://www.longbeach.gov/globalassets/police/media-library/documents/how-do-i/tiger-connect/tigerconnect-review

The report made several recommendations to strengthen the City’s policies should the City choose to reinstate the use of Tiger Connect, including: creation of a specific policy related to instant messaging in the Police Department; initiating the meet-and-confer process for any update in policy; continuing to ensure any instant messaging system is centrally managed with controlled access to users and system settings; reviewing the current message expiration settings, and setting City policy on a retention time for messages; establishing formal processes for adding and deleting authorized users; and finalizing the meet-and-confer process for the City’s policy on Use of Private Devices to Conduct City Related Business.

“I appreciate the thorough review and recommendations for improvement,” said Police Chief Robert Luna. “The Police Department commits to implementing all the recommendations and will continue to suspend use of Tiger Connect until we complete the recommendations outlined in the independent report.”

“We thank Mr. Schons for his comprehensive investigation of this matter. We are supportive of his conclusions and recommendations and are prepared to assist the City Manager and Police Department in creating and implementing any change in policy to better address the use of this or any similar application,” said City Attorney Charles Parkin.

Additionally, the City Manager has reviewed the independent report and in response will be implementing the following:

  1. Implement all the recommendations as outlined in the review.
  2. Create a Professional Standards position within the Police Department responsible for reviewing existing and future policy, case law and industry best practices. The individual in this position will make recommendations directly to the Chief of Police.
  3. Update the City’s policies on email and instant messaging as it relates to other applications besides Tiger Connect.
  4. Remind all City staff of the City’s current policies on Instant Messaging, Email, and Records Retention to ensure consistent application throughout the City with regards to electronic communication.
  5. Create a new review process for apps added to the City’s phones including review by both the Director of Technology and Innovation and the City Manager’s Office. 
  6. Any policy on Police instant messaging or texting will match City policy, making it the responsibility of the user to preserve any records that fall under the records retention policy in a different system than the Instant Messaging System.

“It is clear from the report that technology changes quicker than City policies do,” said Mr. West. “In addition to implementing all of the recommendations in the report, it’s vital for the public trust that we take additional steps to update policies related to instant messaging for all employees, that we add resources in the Police Department to dedicate an individual to constant policy improvements, and that we have heightened awareness of both the benefits and potential pitfalls new technology can bring. It is the responsibility of each employee to make sure they are keeping appropriate City records in the proper format and any future policy, regardless of technology, will adhere to that standard.”   

The use of Tiger Connect by the Police Department will continue to be suspended until all these policies and procedures listed above are in place.

The City has created a website as a repository for information available to the public and documents related to this matter at http://www.longbeach.gov/police/how-do-i/public-records-requests/tiger-connect-communication-application/.

About the City of Long Beach

Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 171 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.

For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit http://longbeach.gov/. Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.