Committee Member Worried About Review Board
COLUMBIA - In a letter to the Columbia City Council dated Thursday, a local attorney who claims credit for the original proposal to form a citizen review board of the police said he is worried the current review board is being undermined and losing its authority due to actions by Chief Kenneth Burton. David Smith wrote, in the letter he also faxed to the media, that he worries Burton is trying to change policies within his department in order to weaken the review board.
Smith wrote that the role of the board is to recommend policy changes for Columbia Police, not for the police to recommend changes to the board. Smith wrote that the review board does not need to work out its differences with police.
"The role of the CPRB (Columbia Police Review Board) is not to negotiate with the police department but to oversee and hold them accountable," Smith wrote. "The city needs to resist the temptation to attempt to placate the police department because the police department is not 'happy' with the board. Once the police are entirely comfortable with the board it will have lost its effectiveness and the public trust."