The Tallahassee City Commission and the city’s police department recently held a meeting with the newly formed citizens police review board, allowing elected officials and other members of the administration to inform board members on the different policies and procedures that need to be adhered to.
This was the citizens police review board’s first organizational meeting. The elected officials were joined by the city manager Reese Goad, police chief Lawrence Ravel and the city’s inspector general, Dennis Sutton.
To adhere to CDC guidelines this meeting was held both in-person and virtually. People were asked to submit any questions to Sutton, who reviewed the board’s duties and responsibilities and set a schedule for future meetings.
The police review board meetings will be held monthly at 5:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month.
Jason Lawrence, the ombudsman for the review board, provided members with a complete list of all the police department’s policies and procedures.
“I am here to help you, as a group, get information, policy cases, anything that is requested I can produce for you by law. And if I can’t, I will at least explain why,” Lawrence said.
The procedures included things such as how to conduct use of force in the field, how to properly conduct traffic stops, and other things that could be beneficial to reviewing the conduct of any officer or official.
A list of all the internal affairs activity for the last three years that has been completed was provided to board members so they can review them.
“We are trying to give them a place to get started at looking at incidents with police officers,” Sutton said.
Board members are to take any completed internal affairs paperwork and review it for any suspicious activity. It is evident that the process of going back through the paperwork that has already been completed takes a while.
Review board chairman Rashad Mujahid said he is attempting to rid the “bad apples” out of the police force and to organize and rebuild the police department.
The goal for the citizens’ police review board meeting is to make the police department better and to restore trust in TPD within the community.
The inspector general and the city’s elected officials have opened their phone lines and have offered in-person meetings with citizens who would like to voice their concerns about anything going on within their community.