Paulson said there are a number of reasons why people have “lost faith in the police,” which hurt residents in their ability to “feel safe and good about the community.”
“If we were successful in getting a police review board, it could be a model for other small communities,” Paulson said.
The task force agreed to make creating a police review board a priority recommendation to the village council, according to member Kate Hamilton.
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“We agreed to present a report to council of the findings from our research and to strongly encourage them to continue on in the creation, and or, support of” a police review board, Hamilton said. “We agreed that was a top priority … This is a positive move forward.”
Village Council President Brian Housh said he is “open to listening to the concept.” Housh said since he became a council member nearly five years ago, “local policing has been a priority issue and a main focus.”
“As a council we’re very committed to improving our local policing, especially in the national context of what I would call terrible training of police,” Housh said.
Following the New Year’s Eve incident, the village created a document titled “Guidelines for Village Policing,” which outlines the principles to which Yellow Springs officers should adhere. The guidelines say officers should be focused on safety; be “connected” and active in the community; should protect human rights and civil liberties; and use nonviolent conflict resolution.
Paulson said a review board would accomplish three goals: Ensure there’s an unbiased process for reviewing complaints against police; ensure police are maintaining proper records; and ensure police practices and decisions made by officers are in-line with village policies.