JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)– Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies announced plans to introduce a Community Police Oversight Commission to the City Council. Mayor Dobies says this will continue to build trust, community engagement, and transparency in the city.
“This community Police Oversight Commission is a way for us to continue to engage the community in local policing and work with the police department to have a review of our policies and better transparency on those policies as well,” said Mayor Dobies.
The city received an additional $1.5 million in new federal funding a week ago to combat gun violence and hire social workers within the city police department.
“Our city has always led in matters of transparency and accountability, and our police department’s engagement with the community is unparalleled,” said Mayor Dobies.
“Creating this commission will allow our city to continue our proactive leadership in the smart, equitable, community-oriented policing that the Jackson Police Department strives for and that our community deserves.”
The ordinance will create a board with five members. The board members will be diverse citizens across Jackson. The oversight will advise the Director of Police and Fire Services on community relations, policies, procedures, training, recruits, rules, hiring, regulations for misconduct, and much more.
“There’s no secret that there has been a gap in the relationship between communities of color and law enforcement,” said Chief Equity Officer for the City of Jackson, John Willis. “Our thing in Jackson is what we want to do is we want to bridge those gaps. We have to have different groups, community groups, and the police oversight commission is just another step in that process.”
Mayor Dobies has worked with city officials to move forward with a Community Police Oversight Commission. The oversight has been supported vastly across the community by The City of Jackson Human Relations Commission and Racial Equity Commission.
“We shouldn’t wait around for the next crisis to hit, or movement to arise, to have public examination of policies that allow for use of deadly force. It should be ongoing,” said Mayor Dobies. “And through proactive, public engagement and dialogue we can better moderate any future, unwarranted indignation against local policing; when we agree to rules and processes together, we are better positioned to understand and validate them when they’re applied. That’s how this policy actually supports our men and women in blue.”
The proposal is set to be introduced on September 14th, and a draft of the Community Police Oversight Commission can be viewed here.