TAMPA, Fla. — A new law to create more trust between the community and the Tampa Police Department is now in effect.
After more than a year of discussion, Mayor Jane Castor and the city council chairman signed the new citizen review board (CRB) ordinance into law in June, taking effect December 17.
In June, Mayor Castor said, “The Tampa Police Department is an open book, and they appreciate this oversight because they exist to serve the community and the only way, they derive their authority is through community trust.”
The citizen review board will now be appointed by both the mayor and city council, each with five appointees. Then, both will sign off on an eleventh member chosen by the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People.
In addition, the citizen review board can now review any case at the police department and participate in the hiring of new officers.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said this isn’t enough.
“The appointments need to be diversified such that no one person can appoint more than half of the members because when you can appointment more than half of the board you control that board,” said James Shaw with the Florida ACLU. “It needs to have subpoena power, so it can obtain testimony from eyewitnesses, obtain footage of incidences that they’re investigating. And it needs to have its own independent attorney who is not also an employee of the City, and have a duty to the City to protect the City from liability.”
In response, Mayor Castor said she doesn’t think anyone wants regular citizens to be able to subpoena them for information.