‘We’re going to do things the right way. It’s just another set of eyes. …We’re not perfect, but we strive to be perfect every day.’
Daytona Beach Police Chief
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The city of Daytona Beach is creating a Citizens Review Board designed to review the Daytona Beach Police Department’s policies and disciplinary procedures, including those pertaining to misconduct, criminal activity, excessive force and police brutality.
The City Commission initiated the measure at its July 1 meeting and is set to have a final vote on July 15.
It remains to be seen what powers and functions the board will have, as details are still being hashed out. However, the Daytona Beach/Volusia County NAACP chapter has long advocated for such an effort.
“It’s good that they have finally come to the conclusion to have one,” said branch president Cynthia Slater. “Citizens’ review boards should be all over the country so that there is transparency in the community when there is an excessive force incident, and when it comes to misconduct.”
Local clergy who also mediate police and community relations also welcome the move.
“It’s overdue. We should have had the vision to have this in place a long time ago.
“With our last two police chiefs, we haven’t experienced the atrocities that other cities have with their police and police brutality,” commented Rev. Victor Gooden, Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance president. Gooden is also senior pastor at New Life Church Ministries in Holly Hill.
DBPD also welcomes the move. DBPD Chief Craig Capri explained, “I have no problem with it. I think that we’ve been transparent. I think we’ve built relationships in the community, at least during my 30 years here.
“We’re going to do things the right way. It’s just another set of eyes. Most of our cases are reviewed by internal affairs, the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) and the state attorney’s office. We’re not perfect, but we strive to be perfect every day.”
According to city documents, the board is being created to foster transparency, enhance communication and ensure a relationship of trust and respect between the police and community by creating an unbiased panel of citizens to review police disciplinary investigations and issues relating to law enforcement policies and procedures.
The board will review completed cases and those already investigated by DBPD’s Internal Affairs division. The board will also get access to files, including audio and video. The chief of police can determine discipline, which is reviewed by the board, which then gives a recommendation to the city manager, who makes the final disciplinary decision.
The City Commission will select members of the board. That has some people concerned.
“It needs to be worked fairly so that it doesn’t become a rubber stamping process rather than a review process with authority. The makeup needs to look like the community which we live in, so that the board is not stacked any kind of way to get some kind of result before anything even happens,” noted Gooden.
Slater echoed, “My concern is that it should look like the community. That way it is not only transparent, but fair and representative of the people in the community.”
The board will consist of seven members, including a chairperson. Five members must be city residents. They must also pass a criminal background check and not be a convicted felon.
They will serve threeyear terms and can serve consecutive terms. Members of the board must also attend the Citizen’s Academy. Commissioners can remove a board member at any time with or without cause.
One of the details is how deep the effort to make the board “diverse” will go, and whether that extends to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, educational level, religion, or other factors.
If the board reflects Daytona Beach’s population profile according to the latest U.S. Census data, its makeup will be half male, half female, 40 years old or older and predominately White, as Blacks make up about 35 percent of the city’s population.
With regard to ethnicity, Hispanics/Latinx are about six percent of the population.