The Community Police Review Board last month submitted over a dozen recommendations to the Iowa City Council to give it greater authority to police accountable for their misconduct.
The proposals were requested by the city council in June as part of the Black Lives Matter resolution, which called for an end to systemic racism here with a primary focus on ways the city could improve how it polices the community.
Members of the review board, who are local residents appointed by city council, are responsible for carrying out an independent review of police misconduct complaints.
The board receives reports from the police chief and city manager, including their findings of whether or not misconduct occurred. The review board’s only currenty authority is to issue a report regarding whether or not they agree with the chief and city manager’s findings.
The goal of the resolution and the board’s recommendations are to “enhance [the board’s] ability to provide effective civilian oversight of the ICPD, including but not limited to those (recommendations) that address compelling the testimony of officers,” according to the resolution.
The list of 13 recommendations includes requiring that an officer comply with the review board’s investigation of misconduct allegations or face discipline by the police chief and also that people filing complaints be permitted to respond to the police chief’s findings of whether or not misconduct occurred prior to the board’s investigation of the allegation.
Additional recommendations involve how much information the board receives about the discipline of an officer and its ability to agree with whether or not the discipline is reasonable.
Allegations of misconduct against police and discipline records are largely confidential across the country, including in Iowa, as a Des Moines Register investigation found.
According to a 2017 Pew Research Center study surveying 8,000 police officers across the country, 72% said that poorly performing officers are not held accountable.
In the instances where a complaint is sustained, the board recommends that they be “given information about the corresponding discipline and that the [review board] be allowed to include in its report its findings on whether the discipline is reasonable or fair.”
They also recommend that if the item on receiving a report of discipline is adopted, and there is a disagreement on the fairness of the discipline between the board and the police chief and city manager, that the board can request a meeting about the disagreement with the police chief and city manager.
As part of the same recommendation, the board says if there continues to be disagreement after that meeting, the board recommends that they have the authority to ask the Iowa City Council to hold a disciplinary hearing. The city council would then determine if they felt the discipline was reasonable.
The recommendations were submitted to the council for consideration on Dec. 22, but it’s not clear when changes might be adopted. Adopting recommendations would require new legislation to be drafted as the recommendations would require changes to state and federal laws.
Making efforts like this one a priority for the 2021 legislative session is part of the Black Lives Matter resolution the city passed over the summer. On Monday, lawmakers returned to the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines to start the session.
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This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Proposals to increase accountability for police misconduct submitted to Iowa City Council
Published at Tue, 12 Jan 2021 14:10:00 +0000