Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “While I appreciate the efforts of City Councilors Tim Ryan, Tim Allen, E. Henry Twiggs, Mike Fenton and Ken Shea to work with Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and me for the good of the community and our Police Department, I’m disappointed in the majority of the Council to act.”
In response to the failure of the City Council to approve an Ordinance creating a Civilian Review Board with subpoena powers, Mayor Sarno has asked the Law Department to draft a modified Executive Order to adopt as many of the changes as possible despite the City Council failure to act.
“While the City Council is unable to let go of an organization structure of the past, I will continue the City’s efforts to modernize and professionalize Police Community Relations. I will modify the current Executive Order to include as many of the provisions recommended by Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and the Police Executive Research Foundation (PERF) that can possibly be included despite our legislative body’s inaction on this issue,” Mayor Sarno said.
The proposed Ordinance, based on recommendations from these experts, would expand the Board from seven to nine members, and grant the Hearing Board power to summons witnesses to hearings on disciplinary matters it is assigned to conduct hearings to recommend whether the complaint of police misconduct has merit and what discipline, if any, it recommends that the Commissioner should impose.
Mayor Sarno recently met with Brian Corr, President of the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) to discuss the proposed Ordinance. Mr. Corr also met with City Council members too. “President Corr indicated that this Ordinance grants more power to civilians than most other review boards across the country. He is responsible for administering the review board established in the City of Cambridge, and he indicated to me that the current CPHB has greater authority over discipline than the existing review board there. I understand NACOLE has been introduced to the Council as another source of information on this topic. There is no question that the Ordinance before the City Council includes professional improvements that are cutting edge and have been created with the help of nationally recognized experts. The Council should stop dragging its feet and get up to speed with the modern age.”
Mayor Sarno has asked City Solicitor Edward Pikula to provide a draft of a modified Executive Order for consideration within the next two weeks. The Mayor stated he would announce the two new members he will appoint to the Board at the time he approves modifications to the Executive Order.