Community meets candidates for Police Civilian Review Board

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Dozens of community members came out to meet the 13 candidates seeking a spot on the Police Civilian Review Board at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center on Tuesday night.

Twelve of the candidates participated in the forum to address the community about their experience and what they would like to accomplish if they were chosen to serve on the board. Maggie Harden, one of the candidates, was not present.

The board was approved and created by the Charlottesville City Council last December to build a better relationship between the community and the Charlottesville Police Department.

Each candidate had a chance to address the community about their experience and what they would like to accomplish if they were to serve on the board.

Mary Carey, a city resident, was one of the community members attending the forum.

She said it's important for the future board to bridge the gap between the community and the police department.

"The police and the community are just not on the same page and that's where we need to be," said Carey.

She also emphasized how accountability plays a big role towards the success of the board.

"I'm looking for someone to actually hold the police department, city manager's office, city council, city government accountable," said Carey.

Megan Keenan, another city resident at the forum, said diversity within the board is another important factor for city councilors to consider.

"To see people of color, to see people who are low-income members of this community on the board will be most important in determining whether residents are getting what they want out of this civilian review board," said Keenan.

City Spokesperson Brian Wheeler said choosing a diverse group of community members to serve on the board is a priority for city councilors.

"We're looking for a mix of people who represent the diversity in our community," he said. "So diversity in race, diversity in profession, and expertise, they want a good mix."

When the city councilors choose the board members, Wheeler said they will have control to define their mission in the city.

"One of the first things the board is going to do is decide on its charter and what its mission is," said Wheeler.

Councilors will appoint seven members for one-year terms during their meeting on June 4.

There will also be an online survey available for the community to give their preferences on the candidates.

For the link to the survey, you can check the link in the Related Links box.

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