COLUMBIA — The Citizens Police Review Board tweaked the police mediation program Thursday morning so residents can appeal the program's decisions.
Residents can file a complaint if they think a police officer acted unprofessionally. The Citizens Police Review Board reviews the complaints and sends them to mediation if necessary. Mediation was created as an alternative to full investigations by the police department, according to previous Missourian reporting.
A city ordinance requires the board to establish a mediation process, but it doesn't outline how the process should work.
The program does not review use-of-force complaints, which are handled within the Columbia Police Department.
Police Chief Ken Burton said that he wanted mediation to be the final step in the complaint process.
If residents could continue pursuing their complaint after mediation, he said, then his officers wouldn't be motivated to engage in the mediation sessions.
The board's view
The board said ending the complaint process with mediation could possibly leave the person who filed the complaint feeling as if they didn't get justice for how they were treated.
For six months after the start of the program, people who file complaints will be able to appeal the decision.
The board plans to meet with Burton again in September to review how the process has been working.
Other topics discussed
- Burton told the board that police would begin classifying all complaints as equally important, instead of classifying them based on the type of misconduct.
The board will now receive a secured file from Burton containing all the complaints that the department has received, rather than only the complaints the department is investigating.
- A complaint may be filed up to a year after the incident, but Burton said the police department doesn't have enough resources to keep building videos for more than 30 days and car videos for more than 90 days. The board agreed to changing the language on police department literature to reflect this.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 9.
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