Katherine Lee, interim director of the Police Accountability Board, or PAB, retired Friday after 32 years of service to the city of Berkeley.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín proclaimed July 26, 2022 as Katherine Lee Day during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, noting that she was “instrumental” in the transition from the Police Review Commision, or PRC, to the PAB. Arreguín added she left a legacy of dedicated civil service and that she established standards that ensure Berkeley’s police officers are “held to the highest standards.”
Arreguín noted that in addition to her work with the PAB, Lee worked as a deputy city attorney and in the Berkeley Rent Board.
“(Lee) has helped us navigate through complex issues as we tried to finish some of the work that we started in the past months and year, as we kicked in the new Police Accountability Board,” PAB chair Michael Chang said during Wednesday’s PAB meeting. “I want to personally tell her as chair and prior vice chair that I greatly appreciate that and thank you … I consider her to be a mentor.”
PAB board members congratulated Lee for her retirement and expressed gratitude towards her grace, patience, competency, work ethic and calm. Chang noted that her professionalism was the culture that “personifies the board.”
According to Lee, the selection process of the incoming director is out of the hands of the city manager and that it is now between diverse executive search firm The Byers Group, mayor’s office and City Council.
The board worked on finalizing a review of the draft proposed permanent Regulations for Handling Investigations and Complaints and approved on sending a memo to the city attorney to address questions on its authority to initiate investigations.
“(It) would also analyze the effect of the conclusion to those questions on pending investigations that the board has already opened,” said Deputy City Attorney James Chang during the meeting.
According to Lee, the city council will hold a special meeting Aug. 3 to potentially appoint the new director.
In her farewell, Lee thanked the board members for their hard work.
“Thank you everybody so much, board members and members of the public,” Lee said at the end of the meeting. “Keep your hearts and minds open, really look for those places where you can and are able to collaborate. It’s certainly been an interesting year, capping off 7 1/2 years as the PRC officer and capping off my 32 years and ten months here in this city.”
The board will go on recess in August.