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Columbus Police Oversight Committee Considers Appeals Changes

A draft of the proposed changes to the oversight committee.

After 25 years, an oversight committee of the Columbus Police Department could change its appeals process.

The Audit and Review Committee For Citizens and Police Relations started in 1991 to review appeals residents make to police department actions. In some cases, the committee votes to determine whether the department acted properly.

Proposed changes to the group would increase the number of voting members from five to seven. And, there would no longer be guaranteed spots for a member of the NAACP or the African American Pastor’s Alliance.

The proposal make some community members worried. But, Columbus resident Gilbert Palmer says he supports the changes, as long as the committee reflects the people it represents.

“You know if you appoint all your friends that kind of dilutes the process, but the guidelines that it does have to reflect the community makeup is important I believe,” he says.

Other proposed changes to the committee include making the complaint filing process more accessible by including online and multi-language appeal forms.

It would also change the name of the committee to the Community Police Review Board and give residents the option of voluntary mediation with the Human Rights Department prior to appealing a case to the committee.

The committee will have a public meeting on Feb 19 prior to submitting the final proposal to the Board of Public Works and Safety for approval.

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