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Citizens Police Review Board working to fill vacancies

Posted at 8:00 PM, Apr 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-19 20:00:35-04

"I'm excited that we have closed the applications but I'm not excited that it took this long as a board that has not had a capacity to meet over months," said Malik Gary.

Current Citizen's Police Review Board Members are frustrated that the process to fill five vacancies on their board has taken months.

With only four members, the board hasn't hit quorum and has been unable to meet since December. However, the applications for people to apply to those vacant seats just closed Saturday.

The Citizen's Police Review Board is now one step closer to being able to meet again and applicants are excited about the new perspectives they can bring. However, some are questioning whether the board should be doing more.

"It's kinda hard when you have a Moses on Pharaoh's payroll, so I really hope that we become better as a community and hold our police accountable from the city manager to the bottom sergeant," said Gary.

The Citizens Police Review Board has not been able to meet this year due to a lack of members. Their meetings usually take place on the first Thursday of each month, but with the process to fill the seats just beginning, Inspector General Dennis Sutton said there's no tentative date for when the next meeting will be.

There are currently five seats open on the CPRB after some members were removed or resigned from their positions back in December. The CPRB has a total of nine members, with four members being appointed by the City Commission from nominations from community-based civic and social service organizations like the League of Women Voters.

"It's an important board and I'm delighted that we're apart of it," said Trish Neely.

President of the League Trish Neely has nominated one of the 20 applicants for the four vacant seats. She believes her nomination would be a great addition to the board.

"We are that non-partisan voice but we also have our fingers in a lot of different things so we can bring a lot to the table when we're there," said Neely.

The CPRB is meant to enhance trust between the Tallahassee Police Department and the community by creating an unbiased panel to review completed internal affairs investigation reports to determine whether they were consistent with the Department's policies and procedures and make recommendations to the Chief of Police for any revisions or additions to Department policies and procedures.

However, Neely questions whether more needs to be done or not.

"Is their scope sufficient? Should they be doing something else? So it's just a matter of fine tuning. I think that's going to be extremely important," said Neely.

Current CPRB member Malik Gary also believes the board should have more autonomy.

"Actually make changes in policy. We are supposed to be making recommendations to the policy that the Chief of Police can adapt or not adapt. That's not enough," said Gary.

Although Gary is frustrated the process to fill seats has taken this long, he's hoping the board will be more effective this time around.

"It gives hope and it give optimism that we're addressing issues in the public and eventually we'll be able to hopefully the public will have some incline that at least the board is doing what its supposed to be and speaking as a people," said Gary.

The Inspector General said it'll take about a month for them to review the applications. After that, the eligible applicants will be brought before the City Commission to be voted onto the board.

There's currently no timetable on when this will happen and when the board will be able to meet again.