Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cop-Proof Citizen Review Boards Pt 1

Police departments fight the CRB because they can’t take equality, (previous post). It burns their cookies to think a citizen may be right and they may be wrong. The Academy trains them to accept nothing but a “win”, with the cop deciding what “win” means. Like that cop in Ohio with the Wendy’s employee who thought she short changed him.

Cops will do anything, not thinking twice, without direct consequences from citizens. We must build a methodology that will not be subject to cop resistance and obstruction. Our first is to consult the US Constitution about the right to assembly.

Do It For Free

Of course we can assemble, without any permits, license, or approval from anyone, as long as we don’t trespass or create a nuisance, and do it without cost. But this is just the beginning of our rights and abilities. We can do much more if we assemble.

Fortunately, the internet and free email can be used to combine our thoughts, and connecting with each other through regular email can begin our assembly. Build an email address list of friends and neighbors and circulate your ideas on this subject to coalesce the desires of the people where you live, but no spam. You never know, your city may not want a CRB. You may be happy with what your PD is right now. That’s really the goal here, for all of us to have the PD of our choice. It is time for the dissatisfied taxpayers to get what they already paid for. Assembling our forces is doing it for free.

If your circle of friends and acquaintances find your PD lacking, then let’s move forward. It doesn’t matter how big or small your city is. Racial makeup does not matter, average age, income levels, educational background, family size, etc, etc, none of it matters! All we care about is that currently there is a PD that you pay for and don’t approve of. If some friends don’t agree, respect their thoughts, skip them and move on to those that do agree. We must assemble.

If you begin with a couple of friends, neighbors or local folks, a private residence may be sufficient, after email slows progress. As you grow, more room may be necessary, but poker parties and canasta clubs can get pretty large before they move downtown. Do what is comfortable for your group, but just be sure to Do It For Free to avoid interference from the local PD.

Every city or town is different, but we all have access to a public library, a town hall, a church, a social club, even a local business with a function room that could be used for one or two evenings per week. Find and request the use of the room to meet and build the group’s thoughts. Lay out a plan and organize. Getting community support from local businesses is a key element in later success.

CRB’s are routinely hobbled by funding being cut off. A CRB with teeth is one that doesn’t use tax money. Then, the CRB can begin to manage the use of police department’s funding. Watch those sparks fly. If you have more and other ideas, enact them, but remember the motto: Do It For Free. More later…….


  1. Tacoma WA finally got a review committee after our police chief (with a criminal background) killed his wife and himself. It was HOT! Written well, and took a lot into consideration. By the time it was "approved" it was 100% toothless. It was stripped bare.

    YA KNOW - the POLICE UNION is given much power in what will and won't be approved. It would be good for you to research where there are strong review boards and see what they did, how they did it, and what factors paved the way. I'd love to know more about that... what works.

    About funding, ditto. In advocating for victims of officer-involved dv victims the number one rule is to not get entangled with funding from the powers that be.

    I wish I had more time... I'd certainly join you in this venture. It's a good one. Remind me to peek in and see how it's going.

    I used to track police union news but as the cases I was following increased I no longer had time. But what can be accomplished even in my narrow focus without addressing the power of the police unions?

    [PA] 1 CPRB response to claim that a dv policy would leave officers "terrified" - Perhaps among the most compelling reasons to move forward affirmatively is the very substance of the opposition expressed by the Fraternal Order of Police.

    [PA] Pittsburgh police "want to be able to excuse batterers & promote them..." - Women's advocates said they are angry at the delay and insistence by police brass and union officials that the chief, not a city ordinance, should lay down the rules governing officers accused of domestic abuse. "They just don't want a law. They want to be able do what they want to do. They want to be able to excuse batterers and promote them if necessary, and they don't want the citizens involved in this. This is just a total outrage"...

  2. BTBW,
    Thanks for the viewpoint. Only direct citizen involvement leading to intervention will do anything to solve this. When we leave the zoo gates open, we can't be surprised when the animals run wild. It is ALL up to us.