Policing the police - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Policing the police

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The San Diego Police Department has had its share of scandals, and on Thursday, there was push to change the way San Diego's officers are held accountable.

Some concerned citizens would like to see changes come to the SDPD, and who the police gets policed.

The call for change came Thursday at the City Council's Charter Review Committee meeting was a push for the Citizens Review Board to have more independence and more power in investigating complaints against San Diego Police Officers, pointing to the county's system as a more transparent model.

During the meeting, the way San Diego Police are currently held accountable to the public came under attack.

"We believe there is a crisis of confidence in our institutions," said Stephanie Jennings.

"There is no oversight. There is no transparency," said Mary Frances.

Currently, the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices, a member volunteer panel appointed by the mayor, investigates citizens' complaints against SDPD officers. Those complaints range from alleged discrimination to questionable use of force.

A Coalition of Critics, who presented a united front at the City Council's Charter Review Committee called for change.

"Quite frankly, we need to put the fear of God into those rogue cops that taint the entire police department," said Frances. 

Critics of the current system are pushing for the Citizen's review board to use its own independent investigators, instead of working with the SDPD's internal Affairs Investigators, and to be granted subpoena powers to force officers to provide testimony. Powers the San Diego County's version of the CRB already has.

While the executive director of the Citizens Review Board defended its efficacy, critics said progress in effectively policing the police requires systemic change.

San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman said in a statement that her department will comply with whatever voters approve. She added the SDPD follows the CRB guidelines put in place by the City Charter and will continue to do so if any changes are made.

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