Board of Aldermen pass BB208 Civilian Oversight Board

Board of Aldermen pass BB208 Civilian Oversight Board

 St. Louis, MO - On the last aldermanic session of 2014-2015, the Board of Aldermen voted 17-8-2 to pass BB 208 Civilian Oversight Board Bill. This city ordinance establishes a 7 member board composed of civilians that will have the authority to oversee internal affairs investigations of civilian complaints. The board would also be able to do its own investigations if it believes the Internal Affairs Division falls short, and it can make recommend changes to the police department's policies.

“The passage of BB 208  Civilian Oversight Board is the first necessary step to establish trust between citizens, local officials, and police. However, the fight for police accountability does not end with the passage of this bill,” said Montague Simmons, Organization for Black Struggle Executive Director. “This is only one victory in a larger fight for stronger police accountability. We must continue to fight for real accountability which includes having a Civilian Oversight Board with subpoena power and the establishment of an independent department of civilian oversight. In addition, developing an early warning system that will create a database that will track officers’ offenses.”

We need all St. Louis residents to remain vigilant in the next four months as the seven board members are being chosen. We are dependent on you (residents) to identify people in your communities to serve on the board. The Civilian Oversight Board needs a competent, diverse board with integrity and roots in the larger citizen accountability project. It means finding accountable, independent, engaged citizens to take up the challenge of being a part of the community. Not only will we need the right people on the board, we will need accountability from all parties involved–the Mayor’s Office, the Alderpeople, the Police Dept and The People. The Board of Aldermen and Mayor are elected to serve and represent your interest so it crucial that you stay involved throughout the entire process of the Civilian Oversight Board.

OBS has been involved in police repression work for over three decades and is committed to working with its allies to ensure that the civilian oversight board is INDEPENDENT and EFFECTIVE. We will not be dismayed by Mayor Slay’s threats to veto any legislation that will make the Civilian Oversight Board stronger.  We didn’t come this far to have the process or outcome co-opted or corrupted.