Friday, October 12, 2007

Is a civilian review board necessary?

On Tuesday, October 2, a recommendation was made during the East Palo Alto City Council meeting to create a civilian review board in East Palo Alto. It was said that a board composed of East Palo Alto residents who had civilian oversight of the police department would give the department greater transparency, would create a safer environment for residents and police officers who file complaints against the police and would foster more trust for the police. This body would be appropriate for the city, it was said, since a similar body existed in East Palo Alto previously.

Given the “Chat with the Chief” meetings that East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis holds in the city, the monthly community beat meetings that take place throughout the city, the recent policies and programs designed to improve the East Palo Alto Police Department’s relations with the community, and the reduced crime rate within the city, do you think a civilian review board is necessary? Would civilian oversight of the police department improve the police’s effectiveness and lead to more trust and cooperation between the residents and the police? Tell us what you think.