MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Broward County Commissioners are taking another step to police, the police.
They are working to create a police citizens’ review panel. It’s a panel that would review officers and deputies in the county, even Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony says he supports the move.
The sheriff told CBS4’s Joan Murray that he does support this measure because it will help build community trust, but it’s a long way off because to get this board formed and working correctly is going to take a lot of work.
After George Floyd’s death in police custody, demonstrators want change. Broward County included.
Carlos Naranjo, of the Black Lives Matter Broward Alliance, said, “So, as of this moment, we are saying accountability must happen. That accountability loos like having community controlling police.”
Broward commissioners took the first steps to create a police citizen’s review board. A panel to look at internal affairs reports on police response.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said he’s already taken steps to police the police, he highlights some of what he’s done in a campaign ad.
“We have these major national incidents where law enforcement officers are literally murdering someone, it creates a level of distrust in the public. So we have to reestablish that level of trust and if that means we yield a little bit more. If we expose and get more facts behind things we’re doing I think it’s essential,” Sheriff Tony said.
Such a review board will need the cooperation of the union.
“The union is OK with a panel, we’re OK with having disciplinary cases heard with a mixture of command staff and civilians right now,” said union chief Jeff Bell.
But Bell said the sheriff rejected their push to have internal affairs proceedings recorded, and he says to be effective would require a change in state law.
“You are going to have to change state law to give them the ability to issue subpoenas, you are going to have to change the law in order to have final discipline recommended ability. Because as of right now you can create 100 civilian review boards, but they don’t have any teeth under this current state law. The sheriff still has the final decision making right now.”
So what happens next? The county attorney will work on a framework for this panel who would be on it. What would be covered and that take it back to the county commission. So, this will be months in the making and the sheriff said that ultimately it will affect not just his agency but all the police departments in Broward County.