Many citizens concerned about the actions/inaction of the Shreveport Police Department resulting in the death of Anthony Childs are calling for the creation of a police citizen police review board. This group wants additional oversight for the Shreveport police
Apparently, none of the members in this group have filed a complaint with the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board. This board is created by state statute and it has the authority investigate firemen and police, including subpoena and investigative powers. And it is a police review board
The Shreveport civil service board is typical of all other fire and police civil service boards in the state. The only exception is that the Shreveport board has 5 civilians, 2 police and 2 fire. The “standard” Louisiana civil service board has 3 civilians and one fire and one police representative.
Any change in the current Shreveport civil service board and its responsibilities will require a special act by the Louisiana legislature. This can not be accomplished until the 2020 legislative session.
There are approximately 150 civilian review boards (CRBs) or civilian-police oversight agencies operating in the United States. Although they differ in size, responsibilities, and other ways, these fall into three primary models.
Investigation-focused models conduct independent investigations of civilians complaints. They are staffed by civilian investigators who are professionals with relevant backgrounds.
Most investigative boards have no disciplinary powers; they make recommendations to the police chief. New York City, San Francisco and Pittsburg have investigative review boards.
A second type of CRB is the review-focused model. This type oversees internal affairs investigations and make recommendations to police. These boards are generally staffed by volunteers and community members.
A review-focused board can also make recommendations for changes in policy. Albany, St. Petersburg and Indianapolis have these type CRBs.
The third type of CRB is the auditor-focused model. This type of CRB concentrates on broad trends regarding investigations, findings and discipline within departments.
This type of model is headed by an appointed professional who leads an independent agency to address systemic problems within a police department. Cities with an auditor/monitor CRB include Denver, San Jose and New Orleans.
CRBs are not one size fits all, and a few are hybrids between the 3 basic models. The basic functions of CRBS are consistent: hold public meetings, review police department policies, and either investigate or review investigations of civilian complaints.
Much discussion will be needed to decide if the local legislative delegation will be asked to push for a Shreveport civilian review board. How such a board will be structured, its powers and responsibilities and funding for operations are obvious questions that must be addressed.
Also, the interface of a new review board and the current municipal fire and police civil service board must be addressed. Many of the responsibilities of the current board are not encompassed within CRB models ( like discipline of police and fire personnel).