Columbus City Council unveils rules for citizen review board

Columbus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – It’s now just a matter of weeks before Columbus’ first civilian review board is scheduled to have its first meeting.

Once the board gets to work, it’ll be the first time the city has independent oversight of the Division of Police.

As the meeting approaches, more is being learned about how the board will likely work.

All the rules and background for the board still need to be approved by Columbus City Council.

One council member said the board will meet at least four times a year, while board chairperson Janet Jackson said to expect more.

“I truly feel as we move forward that we are actually about to begin the work that the vast majority of the citizens in this community wants to see accomplished,” Jackson said.

Along with the other 10 members of the board, she is looking forward to the work ahead. The legislation that will be considered by council would require the board meet at least four times a year.

“Board members get ready because we’re going to be meeting much more frequently than that to get ourselves prepared to do the heavy lifting with this work,” Jackson said at council’s meeting Tuesday.

The board has been seated since late April. The ordinance discussed during the meeting determines how the board will work – its structure, training that’ll be needed, how cases of alleged police misconduct or excessive use of force will be handled by the board, and the board’s inspector general.

“We knew there would need to be additional legislation in order to spell those things out and that, ultimately, is the legislation we talked about here tonight and will ultimately be before council next Monday,” said city council member Rob Dorans.

Council made some changes Tuesday to what Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther’s administration brought to the table, creating additional training requirements for board members, clarifying future chairpersons of the board will be selected by the board and not appointed by the mayor, and expanding what the board will have to report to council when it comes to things like cases and discipline recommendations.

“I think we’re hopeful this is a vehicle and a body that’s going to help repair some of that lost trust between some community members and the Division of Police,” Dorans said.

All the rules and structure are set to be voted upon at Monday’s city council meeting.

Jackson said the board will likely hold its first meeting in early August.

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