COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — This summer, people protested in the streets of Columbus for police reform and during this election, voters overwhelmingly supported issue 2 for a civilian review board.
Issue 2 provides a framework for review, but how the board operates and who the members are will come down to what’s in the collective bargaining agreement between the city and police union.
City attorney Chris Shook said coming up with their civilian review board was heavily based on what was allowed in the contract between the city and the police union.
“We want to be supportive of the agreement that we’ve bargained with the fraternal order of police,” said Shook. “I think we felt like complying with the contract wasn’t something we were forced to do. I think we felt like it was something we wanted to do.”
Shook said the collective bargaining agreement is the main reason why the city never asked for the board to have the power to discipline officers. That power is reserved for the police chief and Mayor Andrew Ginther.
“We could not grant that power to the civilian review board, and we wanted to be very careful not to even allow them to make recommendations because we did not want to run a foul with our contract with the FOP,” said Shook.
Columbus is using a 16-member working group to bring recommendations on how they want the review board to look.
“Having the subpoena power on the civilian review board is something I would like to see,” said Bo Chilton, a member of the working group.
He said their recommendations will be based on their research, not the contract between the city and the fraternal order of police.
“My hope is that we enter in this with a spirit of community and avoid the us versus them kind of scenarios,” he said.