Columbus Civilian Police Board May Review Internal Affairs Investigations

The new Civilian Police Review Board would get a more precise definition under an ordinance scheduled to be voted on Monday by Columbus City Council.

The review board would make recommendations to the Columbus Police Division regarding the resolutions of the investigations. The bill would require the council to have its inspector general – the official who would conduct actual investigations into possible police misconduct – to “review and report” on all investigations carried out by the Bureau of Internal Police Affairs. These reports would speak of “fairness and accuracy and, if necessary, recommend changes to the policies and procedures of the division.”

Council would also be required to “assess and identify complaint patterns and make recommendations to reduce complaints” against officers, and provide city council with annual reports on the results of its investigations.

Confusion over the appointments and functions of civilian police review boards

The ordinance proposed by Mayor Andrew J. Ginther’s administration for council consideration would also do a bit of cleaning up: it would clarify that the proposed appointments to the new supervisory board, approved overwhelmingly by the city’s voters in last November, must be submitted by the mayor and approved by a vote of the city council. Members of the review committee should also undergo a criminal background check.

The ordinance “complements the provisions of the charter (approved by the voters) by giving the newly appointed council expanded power to make administrative rules; receive, initiate, examine and have investigated complaints of misconduct; make recommendations on the resolution of complaints; make recommendations on discipline; and in specific circumstances, to summon witnesses and evidence. “

The Dispatch reported in May that a process for selecting members of the review committee was not spelled out in the city’s charter or codebook, leaving it unclear whether the mayor had the authority to play a role in the nomination of members – despite the nomination of the first nine members.

The lack of clear rules became apparent after council made a last-minute decision at its April 26 meeting to add two appointees to the board who had not been appointed by the mayor. The board voted unanimously to sit on both, thus also expanding the review committee to 11 instead of the original nine, with no wording limiting future expansions.

The new ordinance would set the board of directors at 11 members and stipulate that they will not be paid.

After convening its first meeting over the next two months, the Civil Review Board, in consultation with the city attorney, “will develop standards of professional conduct, policies relating to the composition of the board and a training program. full for those appointed by the board ”.

“The mayor, with the consent of the council and on the recommendation of the council, may dismiss any member so appointed, for ineffectiveness, negligence in his duties (including failure to attend meetings or undergo compulsory training) or embezzlement in the exercise of its functions. The board must meet at least quarterly and its meetings are open to the public according to Ohio law.

The inspector general could not serve more than 10 years and could be removed by a vote of two thirds of the board of directors, with the agreement of the mayor, for “ineffectiveness, negligence in the duty or embezzlement in the exercise of its functions ”.

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