If we want to make meaningful changes in law enforcement in Albany County, it is going to take oversight from people like you.
After the April 16th commissioner meeting, Albany County officials discussed the potential of forming an ad hoc committee to address ACoPP’s concerns. While an ad hoc committee would certainly be a positive step forward, it would likely only be a band-aid in meaningful reforms and community relations with law enforcement.
During the Community Forum in January hosted by ACoPP and the ACLU of Wyoming, ACoPP introduced attendees to the idea of community oversight boards. During the forum, moderators listened to community members’ ideas about what a local oversight board should look like.
Findings from the forum revealed that the central issue for local residents is the desire to have an oversight body that consists of elected community members that have real power over law enforcement agencies.
Across the country, there are more than 140 civilian oversight agencies generally applying one of three focuses: investigation, review, or auditor/ monitor focus. What appears to result in the most effective change in police reforms and recommendations are oversight boards that employ an auditor or monitoring focus. In other words, these boards are responsible for suggesting systemic reforms, reviewing critical incidents (i.e., cases involving police use of force), and conducting investigations on complaints.
An ad hoc committee designed to provide feedback and recommendations to county officials will be helpful in building the first steps towards meaningful change here in Albany County. But the conversation can’t stop there, as there are real solutions available. If we have learned anything from Robbie’s death, it’s that we need real changes to protect our community and the integrity of our local government.
If you plan on attending the meeting tomorrow morning, May 7, at 9:30am at the Courthouse (525 E. Grand Ave), please RSVP on our facebook event.