COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Some residents are pushing for police reform in light of multiple officer-involved shootings, both across the nation and in our neighborhood.
The Columbus Citizens for Police Review is urging more transparency from local law enforcement, involving the public to review internal investigations and possible police wrongdoing. The committee, which met at the Columbus Metropolitan Library on Saturday, aims to create a civilian review board over the Columbus Division of Police.
“We don’t have any answers from CPD on what’s going on. We don’t have any community input or engagement,” said Torin Jacobs, founder of CCPR. “We talked about strategies about what the people can do to have more say in how we’re policed.”
He also said the group wants to reduce the amount of policing in the community.
“We’re saying that the police are overburdened in society,” he said. “They’re being told to solve the problem of homelessness, solve the problem of mental illness. The police are used too much as a hammer in society. What we’re saying is the people need to come together and offer different solutions.”
“We pay taxes, we should have the ability to say what our taxes go towards,” said Elliot Wiggins, a member of CCPR.
Dale Phillips, a former Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, said he was wrongfully assaulted by police in September 2014. He supports a civilian-led review board.
“It would be better to have a citizen’s internal affairs instead of the cops investigating themselves,” he said.
The group attempted to establish a board through a ballot initiative in 2015 and failed.
The Fraternal Order of Police president Jason Pappas said they adamantly oppose a civilian review board. He said there are already many ways complaints against police are reviewed, including by a grand jury.