LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock’s Mayor cast a tie-breaking vote Tuesday night to create the Little Rock Police Citizens Review Board.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., introduced the proposed ordinance last week that would create the group ‘to enhance public perception and to build and maintain public trust between the Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) and the public’, according to the ordinance.
This will give the Citizens Review Board the authority to review any initial complaint or request for review.
The Board will have the authority to review use of force that has resulted in physical or serious injury, use of deadly force, corruption or discrimination.
The review board will consist of five members appointed by Mayor Scott, with approval from the Board of Directors, and they would serve three year terms. The Mayor will also select a person to serve as Chair.
The ordinance orders each member to complete appropriate training on law enforcement and LRPD Rules and Regulations as well as its General Orders.
The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police attorney Chad Cumming urged the Board to vote down the ordinance.
“Right now the citizen review already occurs. There is an existing form of review and we think the primary issue is there is a lack of public education and knowledge about how much civilian review is present,” says Cumming.
Cumming says there are at least five agencies and bodies that review and investigate police actions which include Internal Affairs, the Civil Service Commission, Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Shooting Review Board.
The Civil Service Commission, civilians appointed by members of the Little Rock Board of Directors and the Mayor, currently has the power to hear appeals made by officers and is able to strengthen or revoke disciplinary decisions made by Little Rock Police Command Staff.
Other people, including Senator Joyce Elliott, urged the Board of Directors to pass the ordinance.
“This is much needed quality control to ensure that the investigative process, already in place, is working as it is meant too,” says Little Rock resident Eve Jorgeson.
The review board will be created in 30 days.