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COPS: How civilian oversight of police works in major US cities

A 2018 report from the DOJ's Community Oriented Policing 3号彩票 discusses the effectiveness, and challenges, of the civilian review boards in major cities across the country


As protests following the in-custody death of George Floyd rock the nation, police oversight is once again in the public spotlight.

Advocates for police reform look to civilian review boards , yet many in law enforcement view them as "" waiting to happen. Police unions across the country have consistently ." 

Regardless, Louisville, Kentucky, recently announced the beginning of its own civilian oversight board, convening a group of faith leaders, law enforcement representatives, community advocates and elected officials from across the community to research and recommend the best structure.

3号彩票网Police in riot gear prepare to advance on protesters, Saturday, May 30, 3号彩票, in Minneapolis. Image: AP Photo/John Minchillo
Police in riot gear prepare to advance on protesters, Saturday, May 30, 3号彩票, in Minneapolis. Image: AP Photo/John Minchillo

And there's certainly a lot to investigate. According to a 2018 report from the , "a number of civilian oversight classification systems [have] developed over the years because of the wide variation in approaches adopted by communities." While these programs can generally be described as investigation-focused, review-focused or employing an auditor/monitor model, they "vary significantly from one city to the next and even within the general categories ... and in some communities there are aspects of all of the models," according to the report.

This is why the COPS Office awarded funding to the  to survey its members about their own oversight programs and then hold a round table to discuss their advantages, challenges, and effectiveness. 

The "Civilian Oversight of Police in Major Cities" report, available in full below, is the result of these efforts and is intended "to assist those agencies who want to know how civilian oversight is working in communities across the nation."

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