Citizen Oversight of the Ashton Police
Robert E. Worden
Created by legislation that was effective in October, 2000, the Ashton Citizens’ Police Review Board (CPRB) became operational in May of 2001, after its members had undergone mandated training, and after its by-laws had been approved by the Ashton Common Council. The same legislation that created the CPRB called for “…one or more local colleges, universities or research institutions to conduct surveys of complainants concerning the level of their satisfaction with the process and to conduct surveys of the community to get feedback concerning the CPRB and the Police Department. The results of those surveys shall be reported to the CPRB, the Chief and the Common Council.” This report is the third annual report of the findings of the mandated research, whose purpose was to contribute to informed decisions about the structure and process of citizen involvement in complaint review in Ashton. Little is known about the effectiveness of complaint review systems, and about the relative success of differently structured systems in achieving social objectives; moreover, the objectives may not be mutually compatible, and thus even definitive empirical findings would not suffice to resolve the issues. In collecting and analyzing systematic data about the processes and outcomes of complaint review in Albany, research findings may form a better basis for sound judgments about the performance of the complaint review system in Ashton, and about what-if any-steps are needed to improve the system. Other cities might also learn from this experience.
Citizen Oversight of the Police: A Critical Review