Citizen Police Review Board revised proposal presented at HRC meeting


Zulfiqar Ahmed I Northern Star

Members of the Human Relations Commission talk to City Manager Bill Nicklas (far left) about the revised proposal for the Citizen Police Review Board.

By Ashley Dwy

DeKALB — City Manager Bill Nicklas proposed a revised proposal for the citizen police review board at  Tuesday’s Human Relations Commission meeting.

The proposal lays out the potential guidelines for the review board and includes the board’s policy and mission statement, when their meetings are, how officers are selected and the duties and authority the board has.

DeKalb resident Frankie DiCiaccio said he was concerned that the revised proposal does not address the board’s budget, if the board would be involved in ongoing investigations and how conflicts would be resolved between the board and the police department if they occur.

The board will review and consider the policies, rules, procedures and regulations of the police department and provide written recommendations to the chief of police, according to the revised proposal. The chief will then review and discuss the board’s written recommendations at the following board meeting. 

There will be no less than six meetings per year, according to the revised proposal.

“We decided that the chief will receive the investigative information, which can be lots of things, whatever everybody else sees internally — the investigative officers and so forth,” Nicklas said. “Then, that’s shared with the board, and the board then talks to the chief.”

Nicklas said, in the long-term, if there is a conflict between the police department and the review board that results in one side not doing their job, then they would not return to the board.

“If the board is not doing its job, then the (City Council) is not doing their job, and they get thrown out,” Nicklas said. “It’s a representative democracy.”

The civilian police review board will consist of five citizens who are appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council. The citizens will serve staggered, two-year terms, according to the revised proposal. 

If the chief of police is reluctant to agree or carry the board’s decisions forward, then constituents can show up at a City Council meeting the second and fourth Monday of every month and tell them about the conflict, Nicklas said.

“Say, ‘Hey, we had high hopes for this, and it’s not working. What’s going on here?’” Nicklas said. “…There will be lots of opportunities to talk on this.”

The City Council is expected to vote on an ordinance to officially establish a citizen police review board at an upcoming meeting in September.