Hattiesburg City Council considering police review board

Hattiesburg City Council considering police review board

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg City Council discussed the possibility of a police review board during its agenda review and work session Monday.

Mayor Toby Barker discussed what the board could potentially look like.

“I think it’s a group of people that are representatives of the City of Hattiesburg that are trained in what our police department’s accreditation standards and protocols are and their job is to be involved in that process when critical issues that happen,” Barker said.

The review board that was mentioned has many details to be ironed out, including what state law will allow the board to do. Currently, the City Council, the Hattiesburg Police Department and the mayor are behind the idea.

“Chief [Anthony] Parker brought the idea forward, so I want to credit him for seeing the opportunity to put some very intrinsic elements institutionally into our department that would continue to foster that trust between our police department and the community,” Barker said.

Currently, there is not a police review board in the state.

“Right now, we’re breaking new ground,” Barker said. “Everyone kind of has a civil service commission for the sworn officers to take care of discipline issues and promotional type testing, and we have and advisory committee right now that’s there in terms of a sounding board for issue the PD wants to get out to the community.”

Councilwoman Deborah Delgado welcomes the idea.

“I hope there is a review board with some level of independence from the police department,” Delgado said. “I hope that people will be able to go to the board and not have to go to the police departments with their complaints.”

No decision has been made yet, but the council and mayor will continue to consider the idea. The council will hold their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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