The City of Atlanta recently passed legislation creating the Citizen Review Board (CRB), a revamped version of the Civilian Review Board. The CRB’s primary goal is to review grievances of citizens who have complaints against any member of the Atlanta Police or Corrections Departments. This impartial body serves to help ensure the highest level of equality under the law for all people by providing a voice to citizens of the Atlanta community at large.
Establishing Legislation Caption:
An Ordinance by Councilmember H. Lamar Willis, C. T. Martin and Ivory L. Young, Jr. as Substituted and Amended (2) by Full Council amending Chapter 2, Article XVI of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta, Georgia, by adding a new Division 11, to provide for the establishment of a Citizen Review Board (Board); to consider grievances of citizens who have complaints against any member of the Police and/or Corrections Departments (Departments); to provide for hearings before the Board. Confirmed 3/5/07
Atlanta City Council Legislation Link
Minutes - September 2008 (approved)
Agenda - October Meeting
Minutes - August 2008 (approved)
CRB Operations & Procedures
An explanation of the CRB’s complaint procedures shall be made to all police and corrections officers in a general order to be included in the manual of rules and procedures of a law enforcement unit and be included in the training program for new corrections and police officers. Each member of the CRB receives training on the issues of abusive language, false imprisonment, harassment, use of excessive force, serious bodily injury, death which is alleged to be the result of the actions of an employee of the Department of Corrections or Police.
CRB Appointment Structure (Code Section: 2-2202)
- One (1) member shall be appointed by the Mayor
- One (1) member shall be appointed by the City Council
- One (1) member shall be appointed by the President of Council with previous experience as a law enforcement professional.
- One (1) member shall be appointed by Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) Group A – F
- One (1) member shall be appointed by NPU Group G – L
- One (1) member shall be appointed by NPU Group M – R
- One (1) member shall be appointed by NPU Group S – Z
- One (1) member shall be appointed from the Gate City Bar Association
- One (1) member shall be appointed from the Atlanta Bar Association
- One (1) member shall be appointed by the League of Women Voters
- One (1) member shall be appointed by the Atlanta Business League
*Note: The members of the CRB may make recommendations to the Mayor, President of Council and Council members of prospective members to be appointed by the Board.
CRB Composition of Board (Code Section: 2-2203)
A) For the purpose of section 2-2202(A)(4), experience as a law enforcement professional shall include experience as a police officer, criminal investigator, special agent or managerial or supervisory employee who exercised substantial policy discretion on law enforcement matters in a federal, state or local law enforcement agency, other than experience as an attorney in a prosecutorial agency.
B) Other selected shall have skills and experience in areas relevant to the work of the Board. Areas that should be represented are: civil rights work and litigation; community and business leadership; and relevant academic expertise.
C) No member of the Board shall hold any other public office or hold employment with the City of Atlanta
D) The chair of the Board will be elected by the Board from among its members. At the first meeting of the Board it shall, by majority vote of all of its members, adopt rules governing the conduct of its meetings, proceedings and other procedural matters.
E) To enable the Board to conduct its work, the Board is authorized to hire its own Director and appropriate investigative and clerical staff. Additional staff support to the Board shall be provided by the Office of the Mayor, the City Attorney, the Department and Corrections upon the request of the Board.
CRB Powers & Duties (Code Section: 2-2211)
A) The Board shall advise the Mayor, the President of Council, Council members and the Chief of Police and the Chief of Corrections on policies and actions of the Police and Corrections Department with the purpose of improving the ability of police personnel to carry out their duties and to improve the relationship between the Department, Corrections and the community.
B) The Board shall have the power to conduct investigations and public hearings.
C) The Board shall have full discretion to select appropriate individual incidents to review and broader issues to study which may be of concern to the community, the Police and Corrections; provided, however, that the Board shall, to the best extent possible, minimize duplication of effort between the Board and any other existing agencies which have jurisdiction over the same matter. The Mayor, the President of Council, Council members and the Chiefs of Police and Corrections, and other responsible officials shall ensure that all such agencies cooperate to the greatest extent possible in the performance of their respective activities, studies and operations.
D) The Board may initiate studies upon request to the Board by any member of the public or the Police Department and the Department of Corrections or at the Board’s own discretion. The Board may review specific complaints or incidents of misconduct against individual police officers; including those involving language related to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
E) In order to accomplish its goals as set forth above, the Board shall, have full access to relevant Police Department and Corrections personnel for interview and to relevant documents.
H) All employees of Atlanta City government are hereby directed to fully cooperate with the Board by promptly producing documents, records, flies and any other information that the Board may request. In addition employees on request of the Board, shall be available to meet with and be available to meet with and be interviewed by, the Board or its representatives and/or to testify before the Board.