City Approves Specifics for Police Citizen Review Board

City Approves Specifics for Police Citizen Review Board

At the June 17 meeting, the Tallahassee City Commission voted 5-0 to accept a recommendation from City Attorney Cassandra Jackson related to establishing a police citizen review board (PCRB). Two weeks ago, the City Commissioners unanimously voted to move forward creating a PCRB by providing direction to staff.

The creation of a citizen review board is in response to citizen requests and the City Commission preferred the PCRB be created by ordinance rather than resolution or policy to ensure permanence. This also means there will be public hearings.

The action comes after nationwide protests in response to police brutality. Throughout the Commission meeting, protestors gathered outside of City Hall. Tallahassee has seen three officer-involved shootings this year, including Tony McDade last week. The incidents are currently being reviewed by a grand jury.

The purpose of the PCRB will be to enable Tallahassee citizens to oversee policing practices and review events like officer-involved shootings.

Tallahassee City Attorney Cassandra Jackson recommended the following components of a PCRB based on a review of Florida review boards. The PCRB may:

1. Be composed of 9 members appointed by the City Commission, five appointed at large, and four appointed from social or civic community organizations;

2. Have members who serve non-compensated, staggered terms of three years, must not be a relative of any City employee, receive training on TPD policies and procedures, attend the TPD citizen academy and participate in a police ride-a-long;

3. Have authority to review and provide recommendations on completed internal affairs investigations, after any grand jury proceeding, involving the use of alleged excessive force and deadly force and review and provide recommendations on police policy at the request of the City Manager or Chief of Police or when a matter is brought to the attention of the Board; and

4. Prepare an annual report to the City Commission, the City Manager and the Chief of Police regarding PCRB’s reviews over the preceding year, to include statistics and summaries of citizen complaints, a comparison of board findings and conclusions with actions taken by the Chief of Police, and recommendations related to changes in policies and procedures.

The recommendation by the Tallahassee City Attorney noted:

To be effective, the review board cannot be political. Each member must genuinely represent the community or the fundamental objective of the board will be lost.

Board members are only a small segment of a community – they should clearly represent a constituency in order to be influential and supported by the population. Because board members volunteer their time, efforts must be made to ensure that the board does not become dominated by partisan members or overpopulated with participants who have the economic means to donate time. The advisory board should be culturally diverse and have broad geographical representation.

The components of the PCRB will be determined over the coming weeks and will be subject to a public hearing.

11 Responses to "City Approves Specifics for Police Citizen Review Board"

  1. We just need to make sure that we don’t have the usual appointees to boards. We have people (including city and county commissioners) that are on numerous boards, nonprofits, taskforces, etc. This concentrates power and influence. We need people that do not have political aspirations. AND WE DON’T NEED ANY LOBBYISTS PLEASE! Just average citizens.

    Just randomly select from voter rolls or drivers licenses.

    We need black people, white people, hispanics, asian, muslim, young people, retirees, state employees, rich people, poor people, all races and ethnic groups, etc. Oh, we don’t need anyone from the Chamber of Commerce either. We need non political people, not connected people.

  2. The selection of board members reminds me of Rawls’s infamous _Theory of Justice_ in which he belabors the process of selecting a committee guaranteed to be unthinking drones 100% in agreement with his notions of what is just.

    Citizen over-seers should be able to choose & flag down police cruisers, show ID & hop in unpredictably, or just do a stake-out…sometimes twice a day, sometimes once every 10 days. As one officer told us at a PR event, it should be “systematically unsystematic”, just like their patrol routes…

    There should be secretaries, software engineers, lawyers, janitors, construction workers… as well. Three years is far too long, OTOH, I can see why you’d want to constrain the necessary training costs. If all they can do is observe & write reports & recommendations, & turn over your “body-cam”, though, it’s all for show…just like the unethical board.

  3. They should participate in a police ride-a-long at least one full shift every 6 Weeks and they should rotate between a Day Shift and a Night Shift. No Activists AND their Social Media Accounts should be monitored on a regular bases.

  4. The commissars subverted the people’s vote on the Independent (LOL!) Ethics Board.

    This will be more of the same.

    1. Appointed by the city commission? How is that non-partisan? How about one church organization, one neighborhood association, one veterans organization, one state employee, one teacher, one charity organization, one juvenile counselor, one business owner, one physician? That’s nine.
      How about a prohibition against any person who has made a campaign contribution to any currently serving commissioner.
      Maybe a prohibition against any person currently serving in an elected or appointed city position.
      These suggestions might take a big chunk out of the political control over the board. But, that’s really not what the commission or the city attorney want.

  5. All appointed by the commission? How much would you wager that the racial makeup of this is not going to mirror the population?
    Let us wait and see if the “at large” members have any nexus to the Social and Civic community organization appointees. Let us wait and see if there are any social and civic organizations who are not historically hostile to law enforcement. I am betting the Urban League has a much better chance at a spot than the NRA, VFW, or American Legion.
    One way or another, I suspect a predetermined majority vote will be in place almost immediately.

  6. “participate in A police ride-a-long”? I believe one every month – always with a different officer rotating different shifts – would be a lot more effective than somebody just cashing a check.

  7. So because I’m *not* obnoxiously in the public eye, and *because* I am a disabled-veteran-housewife who is not living paycheck-to-paycheck, I would not be able to serve the community? Sounds rather sexist, able-ist, and class-ist to me. I guess I might need to go to those hearings to I “…clearly represent a constituency…” I *am* a representative of the community, but apparently not the kind they’re wanting on their “Board.”

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