Twenty of 33 incidents that resulted in citizen complaints against San Diego police officers took place in the Central and Southeastern divisions, an area where the Citizen's Review Board on Police Practices doesn't hold meetings, it was learned today.
At a meeting of the City Council's Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhood Services, Councilman Tony Young said the board might receive more public input if it met in areas where most complaints were generated.
"If you have a number of complaints in a certain area, it's only logical to hold the meeting in that area," Young said.
The San Diego Police Department divisions mentioned include some of San Diego's more ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The board currently meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Point Loma Library.
Young vowed to help put together a series of CRB meetings in his district and increase public involvement.
Board members are unable to discuss individual cases or officers in open session, but can listen to public comments on issues of concern.
Patrick Hunter, executive director of the CRB, said he has also had trouble recruiting volunteer members of the board from the affected areas, even though he frequently attends meetings of area community groups to drum up interest.
"Southeastern is a real struggle," Hunter told Young. "We've had people from Southeastern who've expressed interest. But once they get in the training pipeline, they opt out."
The position requires a commitment of about 20-25 unpaid hours per month, he said.
In all, the CRB looked into 46 incidents during the last fiscal year -- a combination of citizen complaints and officer-involved shootings.
In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, the board was handed 13 incidents to review, putting it on pace for 52, Hunter said.
He cautioned that the increase may not be significant, because the board doesn't look at cases until the SDPD's Internal Affairs detectives have investigated them, and the timing of each case is different.
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