Crime & Justice

Burbank hires former federal prosecutor to address policing problems


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The City of Burbank has hired a former federal prosecutor to help reform its police department. Last month, the police chief announced his resignation amid allegations of discrimination and bias.

Burbank has hired former U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles Debra Wong Yang to address what the mayor’s called serious policing problems in the city. Yang is a well-respected attorney who currently serves on the Los Angeles Police Commission.

The city's also hired the director of the Police Assessment Resource Center Merrick Bobb, who also serves as a monitor at the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

A statement by Burbank City Manager Michael Flad said their hiring is an “important step” in addressing the problems at the police department.

A group of current and former officers has accused the Burbank PD of engaging in a pattern of racial discrimination and retaliation – against officers and the people they serve.

Last month, an FBI spokeswoman confirmed that agency is also investigating possible civil rights violations by Burbank police officials.

One of the officers the FBI was investigating committed suicide two months ago. Sgt. Neil Gunn, 50, was a decorated police veteran and the father of three.

His family has blamed the police department for his suicide. They’ve said he experienced retaliation for defending fellow officers.