Thursday, January 24, 2002

Changes to police panel proposed

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Proposed changes to the way members of the Citizens Police Review Panel are selected could impair the board's ability to provide oversight of the Cincinnati Police Department, according to some city council members.

        Today's agenda, proposed by Councilman Pat DeWine, would do three things:

        • Allow the mayor, and not the city manager, to appoint members to the panel.

        • Create staggered, three-year terms for panel members so that their terms don't expire at once.

        • Prohibit any member of the board from serving more than 4 1/2 years.

        It's the last provision that has some council members — including David Pepper and Paul Booth — worried about the panel's independence.

        They say constant turnover on the board would leave it without the experience it needs to review allegations of police misconduct.

        But Mr. DeWine, the chairman of council's Law and Public Safety Committee, said term limits for all city boards and commissions would be a good idea.

        “When we have boards that are supposed to be checks on the city, we should have turnover so that no one becomes too entrenched,” he said.


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