By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
The relationship between the police department and some civilians is not as easy one which may explain the need for the Asbury Park civilian review exploratory committee to seek more time before finalizing its report.
The City Council on Nov. 22 took initial steps to empower such a committee giving it 180 days to complete its work, which was to follow the work of the earlier Equity Committee. The empowering resolution left open the possibility that members would need more than 180 days.
The council recently approved an extension of time through the end of the year. Again, there is a room for another extension that could be sought and granted.
The council unanimously approved a resolution to appoint a 12-person board – with preference going to former members of the Equity Committee – to serve up to 180 days or longer to determine how to create a board in the city. Residents who wished to serve on this advisory committee were encouraged to submit their applications to the clerk’s office.
According to the resolution council members authorized the creation of an ad hoc advisory committee – to be called the CC Exploratory Committee “to study and review the potential creation of a civilian complaint review board or similar type of police oversight board or committee to promote transparency, accountability and public confidence in the police disciplinary process.” The phrase “ad hoc” comes from the Latin meaning “for this” and has come to mean “use for a specific immediate problem or need.”
This committee essentially builds on the work of the city’s Equity Committee which in April 2020 was authorized to review police policies and procedures, and one year later issued a six-page report including eight recommendations; the first recommendation was to create a civilian review board.
“During the course of the Equity Committee’s work, it became clear to the committee that there exists issues of trust between the community and the Asbury Park Police Department,” the city resolution said.
Further, “the Equity Committee recognized race and policing is a sensitive issue that must be addressed for the long-term health and well being of the city.”
City officials said creating a civilian review board “would serve to foster transparency and transparency in policing practices and policies which in term would help to promote positive relations between the police and the local communities they serve.” The Equity Committee reports notes that credibility issues are most acute among the residents of the southwestern section of the city, and the police, where crime is higher than in other areas.