Duluth Citizen Review Board Member Approval Delayed
Posted at: 10/08/2012 9:37 PM
| Updated at: 10/08/2012 10:28 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
There's a new delay in getting Duluth's Citizen Review Board up and running. The people who will serve on the board have been chosen, but councilors still have to approve it. That move, was tabled at Monday night's meeting by a 7-2 vote.
A majority of councilors decided it'd be appropriate to talk with members appointed by Mayor Don Ness before officially putting them on the board.
Councilor Sharla Gardner said, "these folks are going to have to work with the entire council. I want them to be comfortable with the process...lets get this Citizen Review Board started on the right foot -- on a positive note."
Gardner's been a driving force behind the creation of a citizen review board. It's being designed to foster relationships, and strengthen trust and communication between citizens and police. But it will also examine how police are disciplined.
In late September, Eyewitness News showed a video of Richard Jouppi, a Duluth police officer, hitting a man in a wheelchair at the city detoxification facility. Jouppi now faces two misdemeanor charges, and he's on administrative leave.
Gardner told Eyewitness News they are the types of situations the board would review. However, because the board hasn't been created yet, Gardner couldn't say whether the board would look into the incident.
The idea to create a board is at least three years old. In July councilors voted to create it. And just last week Ness selected members. Councilors are expected to approve the Mayor's choices, but most councilors say they, and the public should get to know those members first.
Prior to tabling the board resolution, Dan Hartman, the Duluth City Council President, said "a big reason to pass this in the first place is to provide transparency to the community about what's going on with one department, and I'd feel weird if we didn't air on the side of transparency in pushing this forward."
Councilors Emily Larson and Linda Krug voted in the minority. Larson said Mayor Ness did the choosing, and councilors should do the approving. But that'll have to wait.
Expect to see some informal, Q&A-type sessions between councilors and the members in the coming weeks.