Springfield City Manager Nancy Newton has selected use of force expert Rick Braziel to lead an investigation and review into events surrounding a protest in Thurston on July 29, 2020. Braziel is on contract through January 31, 2021 to complete this work.

Newton immediately ordered an external use of force investigation and review to provide an impartial evaluation – a critical step to provide clarity, understanding, and meaningful change.

“I have every confidence that a thorough, fair, and impartial investigation will be conducted into the Thurston protest,” said Newton. “The events of that evening prompted considerable interest and concern from within our community and beyond. It’s important that we have clarity so we can effectively evaluate how we grow and learn from this experience.”

“The Springfield Police Department will fully cooperate with all aspects of this investigation,” Springfield Police Chief Rick Lewis said. “We are committed to the Springfield community and committed to participating in this process.”

Newton has called for a transparent process that will include an opportunity for community members to directly participate and provide their thoughts and experiences regarding the protest at a future public meeting. The details will be made available to media and on the City’s website and social media sites once a date has been identified.

Braziel will present to the Springfield City Council on October 19 to provide additional details on the scope of the investigation and review.


Rick Braziel Biography

Rick Braziel conducts organization assessments, critical incident reviews, and instructs in teambuilding, communication skills, community policing, and leadership. He was a member of the Sacramento Police Department for more than 33 years, including five years as Chief. He is the former Inspector General for Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

Braziel is Vice Chair of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, an Executive Fellow at the National Police Foundation, and a guest speaker regarding critical incidents throughout the United States and Canada.

He was the lead investigator in the review of the police response to former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner. He was a member of a team reviewing the riots in Ferguson Missouri and the St. Louis County Police Collaborative Reform Initiative. Braziel also completed a review of the Stockton Police response to the Bank of the West robbery and hostage taking, and the review of the December 2, 2015 terrorists attack in San Bernardino.

Braziel has also reviewed Washington State Patrol’s recruitment and retention, Baltimore Police Department’s staffing, and Pasadena Police Department use of force policies. He is currently reviewing the 2016 shooting of two Fremont California Police Officers, and conducting an administrative review of the Oakland Police Department’s response to recent protests.

Braziel works with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reviewing system-wide training and leadership development. He is co-author of the book, COP TALK: ESSENTIAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR COMMUNITY POLICING. Braziel holds a Master’s Degree in Communication from CSU Sacramento and a Master’s Degree in Security Studies from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.