Tampa police chief, city council to discuss citizen's review board

By Fallon Silcox, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, September 03, 2015

Tampa's police chief will make his case today to the city council for a citizen's review board.

The goal of the review board is to create transparency within the police department, something current Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward and former Chief Jane Castor say is good for officers as well as residents.

The push for the review board came after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found that Tampa police were issuing a higher than average number of bicycle violations to black residents.

That issue is still under investigation.

However, former chief Castor says the idea of a citizen's review board was discussed before the bike ticket flap.

"I think what they’re going to find is that the police department does a very good job of investigating complaints on officers and the way we do business," Castor said. "We take it very seriously and we do very thorough investigations and that’s what I believe the Citizens Review Board will reveal."

Castor added that a CRB is important because it gives the public an understanding of officers' day-to-day tasks and duties.

Today, Chief Ward, who took over for Castor earlier this year, will pitch his ideas for the board to the city council. He is expected to detail how the group will function and its role within the department.

Castor said a good candidate for the review board would be a resident who takes the job seriously, isn't easily intimidated and is very objective.

Council members will then decide how residents are selected for the board, how the state's Sunshine Laws would apply and any other legal ramifications.