Citizens Police Review Board proposal remains unchanged, moves to City Council

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 10:02 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – The Citizens Police Review Board finalized a draft of proposed changes to its governing ordinance in a meeting Wednesday.

The draft has not changed since the Aug. 30 meeting, when the board decided to reject many of the Columbia Police Department's proposed changes to the ordinance.

"I don't think we're here to compromise with the Columbia Police Department," said James Martin, chairman of the review board. "The Columbia Police Department are the ones that we're overseeing."

The board’s proposals will be sent to Columbia City Council on Thursday. The council will decide if and how the ordinance will be changed during future council meetings.

In July, Mayor Bob McDavid gave the review board and the police an informal two-month deadline to submit proposed changes for the board ordinance, which established the review board after council approval in July 2009.

Martin said if the council rejects the board’s proposals then the board might not seem independent, possibly dissuading some from making appeals.

“It would give the appearance that this board is operating under the auspices of the Police Department,” Martin said.

Steve Calloway, president of the Minority Men’s Network, spoke before the board to express his gratitude for the work that its members have done in the community.

“The community does feel that this is an important board," Calloway said. "I think there is continued interest and will be ongoing interest in what you do.”

Calloway’s comments reflected Martin’s views on the board's role in the community.

“I think the people of the community are glad that we’re here, and I think we’ve done a good job, and I think it’ll only get better,” Martin said.

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