During the October 12th Tallahassee City Commission, Edward Gaines – the Chairman of the Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB) – presented the 2021 CPRB Annual Report.
The annual report included recommendations and commitments for the upcoming year.
The CPRB is a nine-member volunteer board of Tallahassee citizens. Five of the members are appointed by the five members of the City Commission, and the remaining four members are appointed by the full City Commission. The members serve staggered terms of one, two and three years.
The board serves to strengthening trust between TPD and Tallahassee citizens, reviewing TPD closed/cleared internal affairs cases, looking into issues regarding law enforcement and addressing other concerns of the city to increase police accountability.
During 2021, CPRB made two recommendations to TPD’s Police Chief.
Chief Revell declined to implement the CPRB recommendation that requested TPD notify the City Commission before using the Rook, an armored vehicle that can be used for crowd control.
The Chief responded, “TPD does not report to the City Commission on day-to-day operations and interference by the City Commission is expressly prohibited.”
The CPRB also made a recommendation to amend ‘TPD General Order 60 – Response to Resistance’ for circumstances when it is permissible for officers to discharge firearms at, into, or from moving vehicles.
The current TPD Policy stated that shooting at or from moving vehicles “is discouraged.”
Under the CPRB recommendation, “Firearms are not to be discharged into a moving vehicle unless, 1) a person in the vehicle is threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle, or 2) the vehicle is operated in a manner deliberately intended to strike an officer or another person, and 3) all reasonable means of defense have been exhausted (or are not present or practical) which includes moving out of the path of the vehicle.”
Chief Revell agreed with the Board’s recommendations to strengthen and clarify General Order 60 in reference to discharging a firearm at or from a moving vehicle. The recommended changes were re-written to follow TPD’s standardized policy format and structure while keeping the prohibitions as recommended by the CPRB
The report also noted that the CPRB made several recommendations to CPRB policies The following statements are changes recommended by the board to the city commission in regards to CPRB policies.
- Require annual attestation by board members that they 1) are free from bias when reviewing cases and recommending policy changes, and 2) will maintain neutrality towards the community and police officers.
- Require one, two-hour TPD ride-along in any section of the city annually.
- Request authorization to explore the ability to expand CPRB authority without violating the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights.
- Request a small level of funding to, 1) support community outreach efforts, 2) engage with other boards (at both a state and nationwide level) to better understand best practices related to community-driven police oversight boards, 3) provide relevant and continuous education to the board, and 4) other issues of importance to the board.
The board made several commitments for 2022 including having various CPRB members join The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE).
According to CPRB, “NACOLE is a not-profit organization that brings together individuals and agencies working to establish or improve oversight of police officers in the United States.”
Further, the CPRB says they will, “continue to listen to the public and solicit feedback from the community.” The board will continue to review closed investigations involving use of force and other cases of concern to Tallahassee citizens, assuring all investigations follow TPD’s guidelines.