ORLANDO, Fla. – On the first Wednesday of every month, nine volunteers of all different ages, races and backgrounds come together to review the actions of Orlando police officers through the city’s Citizen Police Review Board.
The board is “an independent, citizen-run oversight committee of the Orlando Police Department’s Internal Affairs. Advises the Police Chief with regard to citizen complaints and departmental investigations thereof, and with regard to Departmental policies pertaining to use of force and police conduct toward citizens,” according to the city’s website.
Local attorney Caila Coleman, is the Vice Chairwoman of the board and has served on it since 2017.
“It’s nine of us and it’s made up of citizens from all over Orlando,” Coleman said. “We do have a mixture of white, black, Hispanic (people), we all come from different backgrounds and make sure we bring those to the table when reviewing the cases.”
The board reviews the findings of the OPD internal affairs following any complaints or accusations against officers.
“We review it to make sure the internal investigations did their job correctly, so we can’t go back and undo anything that has been done, but if we feel like something was done improperly, it is our job to speak up,” she said.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said Orlando was one of the firsts to implement a Citizen Review Board like this. The city of Cocoa also has one as well as the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Seminole County Sheriff’s office, according to their websites.
Orlando officials say Tampa modeled their review board after Orlando’s.
“Orlando was one of the very first cities to enact a Citizen Police Review board to create further transparency with the community, it served as a model of other boards that have been created in other cities,” Dyer said.
The Citizens Police Review Committee meets the first Wednesday of every month, however has not met for the last three months because of the pandemic. They plan to hold their next meeting on July 1 at 8:30 a.m. at Orlando City Hall. The meetings are open to the public.
News 6 put in a public records request for the Citizen Review Board recommendations over the past year on cases they oversaw and whether the OPD chief took their recommendations. Check back for updates as we follow up on the matter.