Tampa's police chief moves forward with police reform

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Posted at 10:24 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 23:20:25-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa City Council and Tampa's police chief debated for nearly two hours on Thursday about how to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Council members voted on the makeup of the Citizens Review Board. Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told council members he did not feel the love.

"Well, I'm not feeling the love just so you know that," he said.

"Well, I am sorry. I think on a day-to-day basis this council cares about you and cares about your people and cares about TPD," said Council member John Dingfelder.

Chief Dugan expressed frustrations during two hours of back and forth.

After the meeting, Chief Dugan and Mayor Jane Castor announced they are taking their own action. They said it's to ensure the Citizens Review Board has additional oversight and unbiased legal representation.

"In five days, it will be the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's murder and the fact that we are still standing here talking about police reform is quite frankly disappointing to me," said Chief Dugan.

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Chief Dugan said in the wake of that case, he made sure policies were put into writing like "no knock search warrants" and a ban on chokeholds.

"We ban no knock search warrants. We don't do no knock search warrants. We never have, but it was important to put that in writing so we show our community that we were listening," said Chief Dugan.

"I've been here 31 years, we never taught chokeholds, but we put it in writing to show what we practice and what we preach is exactly what's written in our policies," he added.

Chief Dugan said moving forward there will also be an interview panel to help hire new officers. It will consist of five individuals.

"We will have three people from our personnel bureau from TPD. We'll have a retired officer and a member of our community Citizens Review Board," said Chief Dugan.

There will also be a complaint filing and tracking system. On the first business day of each month, the police department will provide the Citizens Review Board a list of all new complaints within the police department. The police department will also provide the board with the status of all pending investigations in the Department's Professional Standards Bureau.

Chief Dugan said the police department is working hard to implement change, have accountability and oversight.

"I also believe that we have the checks and balances in place to identify those individuals who aren't acting appropriately," said Mayor Jane Castor.