TAMPA, Fla. — With the signatures of Mayor Jane Castor and the City Council Chairman, the Citizen Review Board ordinance is now law.
The ordinance gives both the mayor and city council five appointments to the police oversight board. And both will sign off on an eleventh member chosen by the NAACP.
“It was a great compromise that will allow the CRB to be that functional oversight of the Tampa Police Department,” said Mayor Jane Castor.
It also allows the CRB to review any case at the police department and participate in the hiring of new officers.
“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,” Castor said.
These changes come after a year of discussions to revamp the CRB, after calls for transparency within the Tampa Police Department.
But the ACLU says the changes to the CRB are not meaningful.
“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. 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,” said James Shaw with the Florida ACLU.
“I don’t think anyone wants regular citizens having the ability to subpoena you or I, any of our information,” said Castor.
The new ordinance takes effect on December 17.