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Applications for Civilian Review Board Now Being Accepted

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Applications for Civilian Review Board Now Being AcceptedPhoto via Wikimedia Commons.
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Applications for Columbus’ civilian review board are being accepted now through Jan. 15, 2021.

Since August, community members from the Civilian Review Board Work Group have met over a half-dozen times to review best practices from boards in other cities, and outline recommendations for the board’s powers and roles, as well as board member qualifications and selection. Now that residents have largely voted in favor of a civilian review board for Columbus, the work group has submitted their recommendations to the city’s administration.

“Columbus is the only major metropolitan area without any kind of civilian oversight of law enforcement, which continues to erode trust between the community and police,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther, in a statement. “With the passage of Issue 2 in November and the recommendations from the Work Group, we are well-positioned to make it a reality in 2021.”

“Rebuilding trust and improving accountability in the Division of Police is a critical component to reimagining safety in Columbus,” said Council President Shannon Hardin. “Council will engage in a deliberative process to review these recommendations and work with Mayor Ginther to stand up the Civilian Review Board in 2021.”

In terms of composition, their recommendations include a nine-member volunteer board with staggered three-year terms and a cap of two consecutive terms; diversity in race, age, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and skillset; and a majority of members living in the city of Columbus.

The work group ultimately opted to not actively exclude former law enforcement officers or individuals with a criminal history, however did recommend background checks for any board appointee.

The work group also recommended board appointments by the mayor in consultation and approval from Columbus City Council. However, some work group members have urged the administration to include community members or organizations somewhere in the selection process.

The work group recommended the board should be given broad investigative powers into use of force violations and misconduct incidents, including subpoena powers; power to recommend discipline, with the Chief of Police and Safety Director retaining ultimate discipline authority; and the power to oversee implementation of CPD’s policies and procedures.

Other roles and powers for the board include community outreach, reporting annually on citizen complaints and division operations, and recommending changes to hiring policies and practices.

Board members will be required to receive ongoing training in police tactics, constitutional law, de-escalation, implicit bias, and other areas.

The board also recommended that minimum qualifications for the new inspector general should be set by the inaugural board.

Apply to be on Columbus’ civilian review board here.

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