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Carlsbad creates citizen-led group meant to improve police accountability

Group will not review excessive force incidents or other complaints. Some advocates worry it will do little to hold officers accountable.

SAN DIEGO — A new citizen-led group is forming in Carlsbad. The Community-Police Engagement Commission is meant to improve accountability between the Carlsbad Police Department and how it interacts with the community.

Some advocates said it's a step in the right direction but will do little to accomplish its mission of holding the officers accountable.

"It was the George Floyd incident that really sparked this conversation in Carlsbad," said Aly Vredenburgh, the president of the Carlsbad Equality Coalition.

Two years in the making, the Carlsbad city council approved the Community-Police Engagement Commission that will meet monthly or quarterly and discuss areas of concern.

"I think we need to build a commission that has more teeth," said Yusef Miller, the co-founder of the North County Equity and Justice Coalition.

Advocates like Miller said the commission won't be doing all they had hoped for. It will be comprised of citizen representatives and a member of the police officers association. 

The commission will bring issues it finds to the police chief and assistant chief. It will not review excessive force incidents or other complaints.

"The black population is very small but their representation in police interaction is much larger than the population," he said.

Before forming the commission, the city asked the public if an oversight group led by citizens was necessary. Forty-five percent of residents said it was not needed. Miller said they're missing the point.

"The folks who say this has never happened here we don't need it. They're not looking at it as a preventative measure," he said. "We don't have a George Floyd but these kinds of commissions prevent a George Floyd."

The commission still needs to be finalized by the Carlsbad City Council. That's expected to happen by the end of this year.

WATCH RELATED: Carlsbad City leaders and police officers hold neighborhood safety forum (May 2021)

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