Civilian Complaint Review Board

Topics: Executive director, New York City, Non-executive director Pages: 4 (1232 words) Published: January 21, 2012
Established in its current incarnation in 1993 under the leadership of former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins, the Civilian Complaint Review Board asserts to be the largest civilian oversight agency of its kind within the United States, and investigates thousands of civilian complaints each year. Even though it has only existed in its current form for a little over a decade, the conception of a board delegated power to investigate complaints about potential police misconduct predates the administration of Robert Wagner, who was responsible for investing the nascent Civilian Complaint Review Board-which was then comprised solely of three deputy police commissioners-with new powers in 1955. However, it remained a province of the NYPD, with all investigations being conducted by police officers, and their findings forwarded to the deputy commissioners for recommendation. In 1965, Mayor John Lindsay would ask former federal judge Lawrence E. Walsh to conduct an investigation into the role of the review board. He would recommend that members of the general public, non-police officers, be given substantial authority in any new civilian complaint review board. Subsequently, Lindsay designed a search committee tasked with finding civilians fit to serve on this new review board, which was chaired by former Attorney General Herbert Brownell. After much debate-and opposition to the proposal from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association-Mayor Lindsay decided to appoint four civilians to the reconstituted board. This prompted opponents of the newly redesigned board to campaign for a city ballot proposal that would have forbidden any direct civilian oversight of uniformed police officers in New York City. The measure was enacted by an overwhelming margin, and the review board once again came under the sole purview of the New York Police Department. In 1986, the New York City Council enacted a piece of legislation that called for imposing some degree of civilian oversight...
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