City council to begin selection process for members of Police Advisory Council
Following a unanimous vote Tuesday by Chattanooga's city council, city leaders will begin putting together a citizen-led Police Advisory Council.
"I asked council yesterday to start looking at who they're going to choose, so we can go ahead and get that process going. Each councilperson will choose either in their district or outside their district. They will base it off of the character of an individual, make sure they've lived in the city for 10 years and make sure they can vote within the city," said District 5 Councilman Russel Gilbert.
This comes after a number of complaints against officers including allegations of police brutality and misconduct.
"It's the beginning of change. I think that every company has at least 10% of people or employees that are not doing their job and hopefully this will eliminate that 10%," Gilbert told Channel 3.
The advisory council's purpose is to strengthen ties between community members and law enforcement.
"I think people will feel more comfortable speaking to people in their community than they would necessarily a policeman at that time. I think that would give more information to police to find out what's going on. I think that it'll make them feel comfortable that their voices are being heard," Gilbert explained.
Gilbert initially brought the idea of the Police Advisory Council to city council. He told Channel 3 with the vote behind them, they want to get moving on starting the selection process.
He says since the ordinance passed on Tuesday, they've already received a number of calls from people interested in applying.
"We just said choose the best person from your district or from somewhere in the city that's going to represent the community and be fair," he said.
Gilbert says putting the council together won't cost the city any money because the nine individuals selected will be working on a volunteer basis.
Additionally, people selected to be members of the council will serve between one and three year terms. In order to be selected, candidates will need a vote of approval from at least five of the nine Chattanooga City Council members. They will also be required to go through Citizen's Police Academy Training.
Gilbert says city council members are aiming to have all the positions filled by September at the latest. Once the first five are chosen, they'll begin meeting monthly to discuss the council's first steps.
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