ACLU Calls on City to Retain Strong Citizen Review Panel
Citing reduced officer misconduct, improved accountability and cost benefits, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties urged the city to retain the executive director position of the San Diego Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices in a letter sent today to the mayor and city council of San Diego.
Saying, “Any reduced presence by CRB will likely bring about less effective oversight of the San Diego Police Department and resultant inferior policing,” Kevin Keenan, executive director of the San Diego ACLU urged the city to reconsider the city’s recent recommendations to fold the duties of the CRB executive director in with the Human Relations Commission…even though the recommendations also call for a concurrent reduction of the HRC’s budget.
The ACLU believes that the CRB provides invaluable civilian oversight of police through its review and evaluation of complaints, officer involved shootings, in-custody deaths, and the administration of discipline arising from sustained complaints. The CRB also plays an important role in making policy and procedure recommendations to the Chief of Police.
These functions are important for many reasons:
– They help ensure that police act in accordance with the law,
– provide a way for people to have their complaints and concerns about police conduct heard by a neutral authority,
– identify broader problems and patterns of abuse that may need to be addressed, and
– maintain public confidence in law enforcement.
Organizations like CRB can result in better policing, fewer constitutional and other rights violations, and more safety for both police and citizens.
The oversight provided by organizations like CRB has another important side effect – it reduces costs and saves money. Oversight makes police misconduct less likely for a
variety of reasons, including a deterrent effect and better informed police departments. The policy and procedure recommendations CRB can provide also result in prevention of
police misconduct. Less police misconduct means less litigation, and less litigation saves money for the City.