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San Diego revives citizen police advisory panel

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San Diego revives citizen police advisory panel

“You work for us”.  It is the ultimate put in place for a citizen of this great country.

It is a position I embraced when I was a prosecutor.  When I walked to court I tried my best to soak in the people I was walking around.  Sometimes that had me bounding in court ready to make someone accountble and other times it gave me reflection in resolving the offer with a plea agreement.

Reviving the citizen panel is a great concept. The key is the panel has some teeth and power when they see there is an issue.  The next step is to have persons on the panel who have the resolve to make tough decisions when they see an issue.

I am interested to see their work.

Here is the article below.  Here is the link to the article.

Seeking stronger ties between residents and police officers in the wake of recent turbulence, San Diego will revive a long-dormant community policing board and urge its members to set lofty goals.

The Citizens Advisory Board on Police/Community Relations will focus on the idea that policing San Diego is a shared responsibility that suffers without robust collaboration between residents and police.

The board, which the City Council voted unanimously to revive on Tuesday, will focus on making residents aware of their rights and responsibilities when interacting with police.

It may also recommend policies designed to make law enforcement more sensitive, effective and responsive.

 

The board’s role will be separate and distinct from the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices, which evaluates complaints from residents and reviews officer-involved shootings.

 

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said reviving the community policing board, which has been dormant since the late 1990s, will help unify San Diego.

“Behind the badge, our police officers are San Diegans just like the rest of us – but for some it can be hard to see that,” Faulconer said. “It’s so important to give San Diegans a new opportunity to work alongside the city and create a better understanding of how we need to keep our neighborhoods safe.”

Faulconer predicted the board would help reduce crime.

“This board will help encourage police and residents to find new ways to strengthen that relationship, come up with new ideas on how we prevent crime and, most importantly, make sure all San Diegans in all neighborhoods are not just safer but feel safe too,” he said.

Revival of the board comes after multiple officer-involved shootings in San Diego and controversy over a delayed San Diego State study of racial profiling by the Police Department.

“This is so timely – it’s obvious the people of San Diego really do want a closer relationship with our Police Department,” said Councilwoman Marti Emerald, chair of a council committee that oversees public safety. “They want to feel as though we are all on the same path, all in the same room listening to each other. I think this is going to meet a real need.”

Brian Marvel, president of the labor union representing San Diego police officers, said he expects the board to foster more crucial two-way communication.

“Any time we can actively engage the public and actually teach them so they get a better understanding of what we do out on the streets and why we do the things that we do and what case laws there are, is always a plus,” Marvel said. “Public engagement with the community and the police is huge.”

Councilwoman Myrtle Cole vowed on Tuesday to secure significant funding for the revived board during budget deliberations next spring.

The mayor has agreed to quickly begin making appointments to the 15-member board, which must be confirmed by the council.

A policy approved Tuesday says the board must have at least one member from each of the city’s nine council districts, one member from a police employee group, a human relations expert, a member familiar with youth issues and two members with backgrounds in either social services, corrections or probation.

All members will be volunteers, serve two-year terms and receive no pay.

Cole, an African American who publicly apologized last summer for controversial comments she made defending racial profiling, said she wants the revived board to be proactive.

“Given the critical issues facing our nation and our city, the role of this board is necessary to promote and encourage open communication and corroboration between the Police Department and the residents of the city, recognizing that policing the city of San Diego is a shared responsibility,” Cole said.

The board was originally created in the 1980s in response to a police shooting, but it stopped meeting shortly after the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices was created in 1998.

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