Columbus Mayor Announces Structure For Civilian Review Board
The city of Columbus has accepted the recommendations of a working grouped tasked with structuring the voter-approved Civilian Review Board, which will be tasked with providing independent oversight of the Columbus Division of Police.
Mayor Andrew Ginther says the review board will be made up of nine members who serve staggered three-year terms. The city is accepting applications for board members through January 15.
“The board will be diverse in race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and a majority of its members must live in the city of Columbus,” Ginther said at a press conference Wednesday.
In November, Columbus voters overwhelmingly passed Issue 2, which established the Civilian Review Board and an Inspector General in the city charter. The measure was proposed by Columbus City Council in the middle of this summer's protests over police brutality and racial justice.
The Civilian Review Board will have the power to carry out investigations of alleged police misconduct.
“The board will receive training and support in important subject matters, like de-escalation, implicit bias, constitutional law, and other valuable topics at the beginning of their terms, and throughout their years of service,” Ginther says.
The working group also recommended that the review board have broad investigatory powers, including subpoena powers, and the board will set minimum qualifications for the new Inspector General.
Much of the scope and powers of the board still must be decided in high-stakes negotiations with the police union. Columbus will be renegotiating its contract with the Fraternal Order of Police when it expires at the end of the year, which may limit what the board can do.
In 2017, the FOP unanimously approved a vote of “no confidence” in Ginther and other Columbus officials, and this year criticized the mayor for going directly to voters to create the Civilian Review Board.
The FOP did not respond to a request for comment.