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Citizen Review of Police: Approaches and Implementation

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2001
185 pages
Systems for citizen oversight of police, originally designed to temper police discretion in the 1950's, have steadily grown in number through the 1990's, but determining the proper role of citizen oversight systems has had a troubled history.
Consequently, an effort is made in this publication to help citizens, law enforcement officers and executives, union leaders, and public interest groups understand the advantages and the disadvantages of various citizen oversight systems and components. In describing the operation of nine very different approaches to citizen oversight of the police, the publication does not extol or disparage citizen oversight but rather tries to help jurisdictions interested in creating a new or enhancing an existing citizen oversight system. The publication describes types of citizen oversight systems, presents program information from various jurisdictions with citizen oversight systems, and examines social and monetary costs and benefits of different citizen oversight systems. The publication also addresses staffing and ways to resolve potential conflicts between citizen oversight bodies and police, as well as monitoring, evaluation, and funding concerns. Appendixes contain information and forms pertinent to citizen oversight systems in New York, Oregon, California, and Arizona. 38 exhibits

Date Published: March 1, 2001