City officials emphasize police oversight process

Aida Ramirez croppedWith tensions high in some communities around the country, due to strained relations between police and the public they serve, Columbus officials want the public to be aware of the process for resolving disputes with the police department here.

Aida Ramirez, director of the Columbus Human Rights Commission, explains that you have 14 days to fill out a complaint form, if you have a concern about police activity. The forms are available at the police department, on the city’s website, in the Human Rights Commission office in City Hall and at the local NAACP offices.

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All complaints are reviewed by a police captain or higher and the results reported back to a civilian oversight board. If you don’t like the results, you can file an appeal, which is heard by part of that oversight board.

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The board, called the Audit and Review Committee, has not had an appeal in about four years, Board President Rick King said last Thursday at their quarterly meeting.

Last quarter there were five complaints against police. Only one was substantiated. That was after 12,995 contacts with the public by police in that quarter.  There were also 84 positive comments left for police officers, according to the committee’s records.

In the first quarter of this year there were 143 positive comments and no complaints out of 14,251 contacts with the public.

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