Originally Published: February 19, 2010
Move is heralded, but more independence and permanence are needed
Clear definition of work’s Scope and proper funding of CCRB are key to initiative’s success
Citizens Union today commended the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) and New York Police Department (NYPD) for reaching an agreement in principle to begin a process of allowing the CCRB to prosecute some cases of police misconduct before the Police Department’s own Administrative Law Judges.
Citizens Union in May 2008 called for the CCRB to fully assume this responsibility as but one of many needed reforms that would create a more independent system of public oversight of police misconduct.
The details and scope of the agreement, such as which types of cases will be given to the CCRB and who makes the decisions for what those are, still need to be worked out. The fact, though, that there is now historic movement in the right direction on this critically important issue is encouraging.
Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, said, “This change, though partial since it doesn’t apply to all cases of police misconduct substantiated by the CCRB, is nonetheless a welcome one. This trial run is an encouraging step forward in giving the CCRB the necessary power to begin to restore the public’s confidence in a system that has lacked accountability because too much authority for handling police misconduct has rested with the NYPD. Commissioner Kelly and Chair Hart are to be congratulated for making this first and important step. However, more remains to be done, which is why Citizens Union continues to support City Council legislation introduced by Councilmember Dan Garodnick requiring all CCRB substantiated cases be prosecuted by the CCRB, which if ideally structured could save city taxpayers money.”
In order for this effort to succeed and be the basis for permanent change, the CCRB must be given the resources necessary to do the job, something which it has sorely lacked in the past.