City Council Approves Citizen Complaint Review Board
November 20, 2020
WILMINGTON – At Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting, Council voted to pass an ordinance to amend Chapter 35 of the City Code to create a Citizen Complaint Review Board by a vote of ten yays, one nay, and one absent.
This substitute ordinance sponsored by Councilman Chris Johnson amends the City Code by creating a Citizen Complaint Review Board (CCRB) authorized to receive and investigate citizen complaints against law enforcement officers employed by the Wilmington Police Department, make reports of those investigations and recommend practice changes to the extent consistent with the current law as it exists now or may be amended in the future.
The CCRB will be comprised of nine (9) members appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council. Consideration in the nomination and confirmation of members will be given to those candidates who possess professional experience in the fields of civil rights, law, and law enforcement. Upon confirmation, board members will serve three (3) year terms.
The ordinance will have a fiscal impact because the Board will require a budget to carry out its duties, which could include conducting investigations, holding hearings, and issuing reports. The amount or nature of the budgetary needs of the Board is to be determined.
“This is a clear and good first step in creating the type of transparency that is needed in policing, however, we still have much more to do,” said Councilman Johnson. “Next, I have high hopes that we will be able to work with the General Assembly to amend the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights that restricts access to important documents related to internal investigations. In January, we will go down to Dover to advocate for these necessary changes.”