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The city is moving forward with an overhaul of the Civilian Review Board, which deals with allegations of police misconduct.

The CRB was created in 1992 as a way for residents to lodge complaints against police officers. The program is run by the Center for Dispute Settlement. The city put out a Request for Proposals seeking a new operator for 2013.

A report I did for 13WHAM last year explains the process – and the problems:

There are about 20 trained mediators who are randomly assigned to 3-person panels to review cases. All of the mediators go on ride-a-longs with police every year and get training.

Here’s how the process works:

  •  The Rochester Police Department’s Professional Standards Sections investigates the complaint.
  • The findings are forwarded to the Civilian Review Board.
  • The board decides if findings are sustained, unproven, unfounded, or if the officer should be exonerated.
  • The police chief makes a final determination.

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The police chief and board agreed on 85 percent of cases.

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The complainant gets a letter stating the outcome of the case. The findings are rarely made public, however. Civil service law prohibits publication of officers’ personnel files.

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Councilman Adam McFadden said the findings can be confusing for citizens who make complaints. He also said the review process can take a long time. The average complaint takes 210 days.

The new process will have some changes. The biggest is the creation of a community advocate who will assist complainants and serve as a watchdog. The goal of the overhaul is to make the public more aware of the CRB, speed up complaint resolution and involve City Council where needed.

“I think it’s better than what we have,” said Councilman Adam McFadden. “It’s not 100 percent what I would like to see, but it’s a vast improvement.”

Twenty years later, the city is still trying to get it right.

Links of the Day:

– A Queens nursing home is under investigation for how it treated patients during Hurricane Sandy. Loved ones still can’t find where family members placed.

– “It’s like FEMA for Jews.” New Yorkers helped each other out during Hurricane Sandy, in ways that bring laughter and tears.

– The military has done a terrible job keeping combat records, meaning returning veterans can have a hard time getting approved for disability.

The electoral map if women couldn’t vote.

So much for free speech at SUNY Oswego.

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