Should Jacksonville create a police citizen review board?

City leaders invited public to workshop to discuss topic of interest across nation

Another "Safer Together Workshop" will be hosted by city leaders and this one will focus on the push to create a police citizen review board for the city of Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A “Safer Together Workshop” held by Jacksonville city leaders Friday focused on a hot topic across the nation: creating a police citizen review board for the city.

Similar boards in other areas of Florida, including Orlando, Miami, Tampa and St. Petersburg, were discussed.

The public was encouraged to join city leaders Friday to discuss the idea of adding a citizen review board to oversee police handling of investigations and to address complaints.

Currently, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs division reviews all complaints. JSO Director Mike Bruno said in Friday’s meeting that the department received 1,086 complaints last year -- 9% lower than year before -- and 58 of those warranted internal affairs investigations.

Of those that were investigated by internal affairs, Bruno said, 64% were sustained, 10% were exonerated, 7% were unfounded and 18% were not sustained.

The idea behind a citizen review board would be for independent members to look at results of closed investigations and then make recommendations.

City Council members Michael Boylan and Joyce Morgan were joined by Bruno and other supervisors within the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Integrity and Internal Affairs for the discussion Friday.

According to the city, there are three possible models for a citizen review board.

  • A disciplinary-recommendation model: which would investigate specific allegations of officer abuse and make findings to the sheriff.
  • A legislative-investigative audit model: which would review and assess findings of the sheriff’s investigative processes or if needed, audit the sheriff’s internal review process to make sure it’s fair. This type of board would also made recommendations to the City Council for proposed legislation.
  • An executive-investigative audit model: which would be created by the sheriff and would have similar responsibilities as the other models, but it would give the sheriff more power to implement reforms as suggested by the board.

A similar meeting took place in March to explore law enforcement’s response to people going through a mental health crisis, including how they were treated during their arrest and programs to help them. At the time, the sheriff’s office said 119 of the then 2,466 jail inmates had a known mental illness.

About the Authors:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad