Bill that would allow citizens to review Fayetteville police advances
Updated: 06/07/2012 04:53 PM
By: Amanda Weber
FAYETTEVILLE – A bill that calls for the creation of a Citizens Review Board of the Fayetteville Police Department has advanced.
The North Carolina Police Benevolent Association stands in opposition of Senate Bill 939, saying it is in response to the recent consent search review and false accusations of one police officer using a racial slur during a traffic stop.
An outside consultant was hired to review the Fayetteville Police Department, and in March, it was recommended that the city council form a citizen's review board. The board would have access to the police department's investigations of disciplinary cases.
The bill, Senate Bill 939 , states that designated members would be able to see the charges filed against an officer, the facts behind that case and an officer's personal information.
"When you get into officer's personnel files, there has to be a real reason, and if these things are vetted and officers are exonerated or even provided discipline, giving those results and details of officers personal information out is not appropriate," said John Midgett, a member of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association.
Those in favor of the bill feel the review board will be an extra layer of protection for those in question of internal investigations done by the Fayetteville Police Department.
A supporter of the bill, Troy Williams said, "They would be able to review the complaint process as well review any other data or investigative things that would come out of that, that normal citizens would not be able to see."
Midgett said among the many concerns with the bill, they worry this board will be biased.
"We have received on good authority that individuals that have been very vocal on anti-police behavior are people who want to sit on this board or have even been considered to be on this board," said Midgett.
Williams hopes that if this board is formed, trust will grow within all parties involved.
"It's another step towards our ultimate goal of securing trust between primarily the African-American community and the police and the police in the African-American community," said Williams.
The bill was in its first reading Thursday and will now be reviewed on the Senate floor.
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