Over recent months our Nation, our State and Delaware County have seen increasing levels of incivility and mistrust.  This social discontent has led to rising levels of mistrust between governmental agents and the citizenry.  Particularly concerning has been the citizen / police interaction.  Tension filled and violent situations are often partially recorded on cell phones or body cameras.  This increasing visibility can lead to an extra level of protection for citizens against police brutality and an extra level of protection for law enforcement officers against false accusations.  At the same time, a complete understanding of the issues involved is often clouded by incomplete reporting, incomplete comprehension, hidden agendas, defensiveness, or a mix of these dynamics, often resulting in simmering mistrust and ill feeling.  Many units of government have instituted citizen advisory/review boards in an effort to improve transparency, just interactions, and mutual understanding.


CRB Membership


The CRB consists of 15 civilians elected to the Board by Board vote rather than by appointment from the County, Sheriff's Department, or other political office.  The CRB has its own by-laws, a chairperson, and rotating terms.  In most cases, the CRB has a regular monthly meeting.  The CRB makes its decisions by majority vote of a quorum of the Board.

It is important for the CRB membership to effectively represent the key stakeholders in the community.  In this particular case, the Stakeholders of Delaware County should be offered a seat at the table.  Several examples of stakeholder groups from which CRB members will be drawn include:


 

    • Towns and rural areas (Muncie, Selma, Yorktown, Albany, Gaston, Cowan, Daleville, etc.)

    • Racial / ethnic groups (African American, Caucasian, Latino, Asian, Native, etc.)

    • Gender diversity (Female, Male, members of  the LGBTQ community)

    • People with mental illness, disabilities, or other special needs

    • Various socioeconomic groups

 

The CRB will implement its own guidelines requiring diverse representation across the spectrum of these constituencies.

 

The CRB will have deputy officer liaisons appointed by the Sheriff's Department. These liaisons will attend the monthly CRB meetings at the request of the CRB and be available to answer questions in regard to police procedure, protocol, and investigations.  These liaisons will not have voting authority on the CRB.


Delaware County CRB


Delaware County's Civilian Review Board:


 

    • Reviews all internal investigations of the Sheriff's Department, including but not limited to:

      • Internal investigations in relation to use of excessive force, abuse of authority, or discharge of a firearm.

    • Reviews allegations, complaints, or lawsuits against the Sheriff's Department whether or not an investigation was conducted and can recommend that an internal investigation be conducted.

    • Has the authority to send investigations back to IA for further review if deemed by the  CRB to be  insufficiently thorough.

    • Has the authority to disagree with the findings of IA and to present the case before the merit board, sheriff, county commissioners, or county prosecutor for final review (including being able to present a complaint if IA refused to conduct an investigation).

    • Has the authority to present its findings, decisions, and recommendations publicly, to the press, etc. (The chairperson of the CRB is the spokesperson).

    • Reviews and serves as a sounding board for the policy and  procedure changes relating  to the Sheriff's Department.

    • Does not possess independent investigative authority (is only a Review CRB).