HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Controversy is brewing in Tampa over the Police Citizen Review Board, which looks into police misconduct and other issues.
Local civil rights organizations held a news conference Monday calling for reform to the board.
The news conference comes after Thursday’s City Council vote to give themselves the power to pick 7 of the 11 members on the board.
The group, which is comprised of the Hillsborough County NAACP, the local ACLU, and other organizations, applauded the vote, and renewed calls for accountability, and transparency for policing in Tampa.
“We are pleased city council has finally voted to have a Citizen Review Board in Tampa that is not controlled by the mayor,” said Yvette Lewis, President of the Hillsborough NAACP, “this is a great mechanism to provide oversight, accountability, and transparency after years of policies that have hurt the Black community.”
The move has drawn criticism from Police Chief Brian Dugan and Mayor Jane Castor, who said they have worked the last year to implement changes to the board.
“The CRB is very strong and the Tampa Police Department is a wide open book,” said Mayor Castor. “They want as much oversight as possible, they want the community to be involved, and they have invited everyone in. So I’m not sure where the sticking points are at.”
Last week Chief Dugan accused the city council of being slow to act on police reforms and announced his own changes to the board.
This includes allowing members to track complaints against officers, having a board member help interview new officers, and assigning an attorney to help with the CRB.
City Council members are scheduled to take a final vote June 17 on the changes to the citizens review board.