City Council working on Police Oversight Committee changes

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Some Chattanooga City Council members say they think there needs to be a citizen led Police oversight board “with some teeth.”

An ordinance to form such a board is on tomorrow’s meeting agenda.

News 12’s Ashley Henderson has the details.

A citizen’s advisory committee was formed under Police Chief Bobby Dodd, who was appointed in 2010….but Councilman Anthony Byrd says the times have changed, and the citizen’s police oversight board needs to change too.

“We’re tweaking it to make it better, and give it some teeth, so that our community members can feel safe that if an officer does something unjust or wrong to them, or they feel that they have been attacked or done incorrectly in any situation, they can feel comfortable going to talk to someone. ”

The ordinance states that: “the purpose of the Police Advisory and Review Committee is to strengthen the relationship between the citizens of the City of Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga Police Department, to assure timely, fair and objective review of citizen complaints while protecting the individual rights of police officers.”

“We have to be able to understand the police, like the police have to understand that every kid walking around the community with a gun is not a gang-banger, or looking to hurt someone as well.”

The ordinance would also give the board power to make recommendations to the Police Chief.

“If that oversight or review board makes a recommendation to him, and he doesn’t abide by it, or he or he doesn’t follow through without explanation, then I think that’s when the council and the Mayor, we have to figure out if this chief or this person is doing the job that we hired them to do.”

There has been at least one local video of what some community members think was excessive police force, and this is the type of situation the Police Advisory Board would be reviewing.

“You paint a picture, and everyone sees how that picture is painted, we have to make sure that, hey, ok, if we’re all seeing this picture, why are you not seeing this picture? And right now the picture that’s being painted of the community and of the police department is not a pretty picture.”

In Chattanooga, Ashley Henderson, News 12 Now.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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