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City Council will inspect former CMPD officer's personnel records

http://66.225.205.104/LM20100112.mp3

Charlotte City Council will look at former police officer Marcus Jackson's personnel file and decide whether to release it to the public. Jackson has been accused of sexually assaulting five women. WFAE's Lisa Miller has more: City Council members voted 6-to-5 last night to hold a closed session in two weeks so they can look at Jackson's personnel records. Then they'll decide whether the public should see them as well. State law only allows government agencies to release personnel files if it's essential to maintaining public confidence in the administration of city services. City Manager Curt Walton says he doesn't think that's a factor in this case. He's turned down requests from several media outlets to see Jackson's records. City Council member Warren Turner voted not to go ahead with the meeting. "He's unemployed. He's terminated," said Turner. "I think the police department and internal affairs have done their job. He is now property of the state and waiting and with pending charges against him. I really have a concern. What is it that we are trying to get out of this?" "I can share with you what I'd like to get out of it which is transparency," answered Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. "A lot of what the chief has described is a set of processes that have been described in abstract terms, but they haven't been described in particularized terms. This council could make a decision to release those records so that that information could be shared with the public." Foxx has said he wants the city to release as much information about Jackson as possible. Jackson had been with the police department for about a year before two women accused him of sexually assaulting them. Last week, another three women came forward bringing the total number to five. Police Chief Rodney Monroe has acknowledged that Jackson was suspended for speeding, but there have been unconfirmed reports of a second suspension. Mint Hill Police records show in November, Jackson tried to force his way into his estranged wife's home. No charges were filed. Last night, Monroe told city council that media reports about disciplinary actions against Jackson have been wrong, but he wouldn't elaborate. "The media reports as relates to what Jackson was charged with do not accurately reflect the circumstances of this case," said Monroe. "I also want you to understand that I am committed to maintaining a fair and equitable disciplinary process." (click here for a transcript of Monroe's address to Council) Monroe has said Jackson would never have been hired if the department knew about earlier domestic violence accusations against him. Last night, Monroe addressed speculation that Jackson was hired under lower standards. Jackson graduated from the police academy in February 2009, although he was actually hired in September of 2008. In November of that year, Monroe says the recruitment department was restructured to provide more accountability. A social behavior test was added and recruiters were given more responsibility for background checks. "Even with these changes please understand that at no time have we ever reduced, changed or modified the high standards that have long existed within the CMPD recruitment process," said Monroe. "Let me be crystal clear in saying that the same standards of excellence that existed 3 years, 5 years ago, and even 10 years ago are the same high standards that apply today." Monroe told city council that Jackson's case had prompted the department to make more changes in the hiring process. In addition to criminal background checks recruiters will conduct civil checks. The department will also run random background checks on recruits through the graduation process. "And with that I'm happy to have the opportunity tonight to talk to you about some good news" said Monroe. After about seven minutes Monroe went on to talk about last year's 19 percent drop in crime. The police department will have more on that issue in a press conference today.