Push to hold police accountable with a citizen review board

Ordinance is receiving support from police chief, residents
Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 10:45 PM CDT
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BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - With negative incidents involving police happening across the country, Blytheville Councilman John Mayberry proposed presented to the police and fire committee a measure to create a citizen review board.

“Our police department would be held accountable to a lot of things and be more transparent,” Mayberry said.

Mayberry mentioned the review board will not involve any city elected officials or employees, hoping to have a different perspective of the policies and issues.

Donna Aldridge, a longtime Blytheville resident, says the review board is a great idea, adding it could help bridge the gap between police and the community.

“The police would have a better approach method,” Aldridge said.

She adds the citizen review board should not be intended to punish or micromanage police, crediting their skills and training.

Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson told Region 8 News he does not oppose the idea of having a citizen review board.

“I’ve always been open to any kind of review or anything like that,” Chief Thompson said.

However, he does believe there should be an open line of communication and clear expectations in order to have transparency amongst both parties.

“If we’re going to have a citizen review board let’s make it work for the whole community,” he said.

The ordinance still sits in the Blytheville Police and Fire Committee for discussion.

Once passed, the ordinance will be brought before the mayor and Blytheville City Council for review.

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