Columbus updates police review board

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COLUMBUS, Ind.–The city of Columbus updated the Audit and Review Committee on Police and Citizen Relations on Tuesday. The first change was to shorten the name to “Community Police Review Board.” Initially created in 1992, the committee was designed to create a process for citizens to bring complaints before the city regarding the enforcement of the city’s laws and provide a means for appeals to be requested. In 2015, there were some slight changes, but calls for a more substantial update began under Mayor Jim Lienhoop’s nascent administration in 2016.

The administration researched police review bodies in 26 other cities and met with the NAACP, the African American Pastors Alliance, and the city’s Human Rights Commission before the new Community Police Review Board (CPRB) began to take shape. Several community meetings were also held recently to gather input from the public before the finishing touches were added to the new version.

Ultimately, the new CPRB carries the same mission of the original Audit and Review Committee, but streamlines communication, making it easier for . Complain forms will now be available online or in person at city hall, the police department, and other public buildings. Three additional members were added to the committee, each appointed by the mayor. The body of eight will be comprised of six community members, one member of the common council, and one police representative.

At Tuesday’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, Mary Ferdon said this effort carries on the city’s desire to maintain the most professional police force possible. The Columbus Police Department recently received reaccreditation in November by CALEA, an organization that ensures law enforcement agencies adhere to the best practices.

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