Columbia, Missouri is a type three in that a complaint is handled by Internal Affairs and the Police Chief before it’s appealed to the Citizens Review Board. Established in 2009, Columbia’s Citizens Police Review Board consist of an even number of 8 register voters of Columbia appointed by the city council and the Human Rights Commission. Columbia police department have been getting complaints about their use of force and drug raids. In 2010, Columbia police raided a house and shot the families dogs. Keep Columbia Free reported that a lawsuit was filed but was dismissed in 2011.
Keep Columbia Free did credit Chief Burton in combatting racial profiling and firing an officer who shoved and beat a man in custody. Chief Burton had to overturn an Internal Affairs Ruling in favor of the officer. Thus, Chief Burton demonstrated police can be held accountable without appealing to the Citizens Review Board; however, the Columbia Police Officers Association CPOA, came to the officers aid and endorsed reinstating the officer. You can watch the video yourself.
Recently local news report of disagreement between the review board and the police. CLP Lieutenant Shelly Jones argued before the Review Board concerned that the Board is listening to a small group of citizens in the community, mostly with political agendas, without listening to the police and learn what is best practice in 2011. She told the Review Board that after recovering from a gunshot injury with community support, she return to work after five weeks.
Public Sector Attorney Joe Marshall cautioned the Review Board that sometimes officers don’t remember certain facts initially after a life or death event because they are so focus on surviving. In his 2011 testimony before the Review Board, Marshall explained that officers memory becomes more accurate after the officer have time to recover from such incident. The Police Firearm Officers Association of Great Britain site a report for waiting two days before interviewing officers about shooting incidents. The FBI May 2012 bulletin recognized the stress and drama after a shooting incident can impair the accuracy of an officer. With this in mind, Marshall want the Review Board to understand that an officer’s story my update when new information is remembered.
The Board started mediation services. The mediator meets with a person filing the complaint and the officer in question. The Columbia review reported that the Review Board seeking to expand its authority to review police employees as well as officers. Since 2009, Columbia’s civilian Review Board continue to provides opportunity for citizens to not only complain about police but allow citizens to offer suggestions to improve the department. The mediation process might ease the tensions between the Board and the Columbia Police. After four years, the police don’t trust the Board’s credibility & the Board thinks excessive force is continuing being used.