TODAY'S QUESTION: Should police officers be provided legal representation when brought before the Citizens Police Review Board?

Thursday, May 12, 2011 | 4:13 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Citizens Police Review Board on Wednesday heard from an attorney for the Columbia Police Officers Association, who asked that legal counsel be provided to officers brought before the board

The attorney, Joe Marshall, said the board's current system leaves officers vulnerable to civil and criminal liabilities because too much information is easily available to the public.

Marshall said officers should be allowed legal counsel during investigations against them to make the process more efficient and that the city should pay for the officers' attorney fees because many can't afford them.

No specific amendments were made Wednesday. The issue was tabled to discuss further what types of amendments should be made to the board's ordinance.

Should police officers be provided legal representation when brought before the Citizens Police Review Board?




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Dan Viets May 12, 2011 | 5:30 p.m.

If they have done nothing wrong, they don't need a lawyer. At least that's what they tell my clients. Maybe the City should also pay for a lawyer for the complaining citizens.
The lawyer for the police will simply advise them not to talk, just like we advise other citizens who have close encounters with law enforcement The CPOA,the police union, should pay for their lawyers.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 12, 2011 | 5:47 p.m.

"If they have done nothing wrong, they don't need a lawyer. At least that's what they tell my clients."

Early nomination for 2011 comment of the year?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle May 12, 2011 | 7:59 p.m.

I found the circus. I was looking for the bread.

(Report Comment)
Jon Hendrell May 12, 2011 | 8:12 p.m.

The city should not pay for officers' attorney fees. It's capitalism plain and simple, if you can not afford it, you do not get it. Also as a personal opinion, I would not be happy seeing Columbia's tax dollars spent in such a manner when all other departments city wide are continuing to cut costs.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock May 12, 2011 | 9:07 p.m.

I absolutely think that if they want to bring a lawyer they can.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks May 12, 2011 | 9:40 p.m.

Dam right they should bring a lawyer with them or at least get legal advice when going in front of a board of this nature and being asked questions that will be public. Best bet is just just sit there with mouth shut.

Jack Hamm: That was not his advice that was his experience. Valid comment considering how the police like to get questioning in before your lawyer arrives. Look at poor Ryan Ferguson.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks May 12, 2011 | 9:43 p.m.

Forgot the reason for posting. I do not think that the city should necessarily provide all the money for legal counsel but could be split. And if you really wanted to get down to it. The city should have lawyers on staff paying them 75k a year for anything and everything that comes up. There should be no more of these lawsuits where it ends up costing the city hundreds of thousands in just attorney fees for one case.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 13, 2011 | 2:39 p.m.

That's right Corey. Despite the fact that the review board is not a court of law, the city should pay somebody to defend the actions of it's employees regardless of the situation and argue on their behalf no matter how wrong they are because it might cost some money. Maybe they should hire someone to shoot anyone who complains about anything. That would save a lot of trouble.

(Report Comment)

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