Mayor Jim Strickland says he liked the idea of a Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board when he was on the City Council. Now that he’s Mayor, he likes it even more. But says remember, all they do is make recommendations. Local 24’s Mike Matthews has the story.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland likes the entire Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board concept. “Oh, I think an outside independent review board is a good idea,” he says. “I voted for it. I supported it. I still support it. In fact, as Mayor, we’ve fully staffed it.”
The board doesn’t have much power.
It can’t force a police officer to appear, and if the cop shows up, they can’t force him or her to answer questions.
It is a place to hear complaints, to let people know that there is an agency, outside of the police department that will look into their concerns.
That’s about all they can do, according to Mayor Strickland. “The ordinance,” he says, “… was written up that it’s a recommendation to the police director who still has 100% authority over personnel decisions. Whatever CLERB gives is a recommendation.”
Just recently Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings refused to follow the first four recommendations he received concerning punishment for police officers that CLERB felt were wrong.
The board had been in existence, but faded away, until no meetings were ever held.
Groups like the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center pushed council members to re-establish CLERB, and to give them a lot of power.
CLERB is back, but it is not that powerful when it comes to final decisions, according to Mayor Strickland.
Here’s his bottom line. “I know the police director thoroughly reviewed all four cases and I stand behind our Police Director.”