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Council approves application process for Citizens Police Review Board

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The City Council is moving ahead with the application process for the recently established Citizens Police Review Board after discussing application and training procedures during its Monday night meeting.

The council established an application deadline of noon Sept. 4. Since the board is set to begin reviewing the police chief's reactions to complaints on Jan. 1, city staff said it would be helpful if appointments and training were completed by that time.

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The council can decide whether to conduct applicant interviews, according to a staff report about the process, and appointments could be made as early as Sept. 21. If interviews are conducted, the earliest date for appointment would be Oct. 5.

The council also gave city staff the authority to start designing a training schedule to begin after appointments are made to the review board. Many council members discussed the importance of informing the public that the training schedule would be challenging and would require a high level of commitment.

Although most council members agreed expectations for appointed members would be extremely high, First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz cautioned against setting the bar too high.

The ordinance establishing the review board was passed at the council meeting on July 20. It allows the board to review appeals of decisions made by the police chief regarding possible police misconduct. A decision made by the board can be appealed to the city manager by citizens and police officers involved.

In other business, the council reviewed and accepted a juvenile crime statistics report, but did not discuss the results in detail.

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser requested the report continue a discussion of juvenile crime and a possible curfew ordinance promoted by herself, Mayor Darwin Hindman and the Police Department.

Although Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe seconded the request for the juvenile crime statistics, she expressed concerns Tuesday.

"To me, it looked like the problems with juveniles were a small percentage of the actual juvenile population," Hoppe said. "The statistics didn't cry out that a curfew is necessary."


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