MERIDEN — The Police Civilian Review Board is back on the City Council’s agenda.
The council will hold a special hybrid in-person and remote meeting tonight to discuss overriding Mayor Kevin Scarpati’s veto on Monday of a resolution to draft a new chapter in the city’s code creating the board, which the council passed a week before that veto.
The resolution passed by exactly a two-thirds majority, the margin required for override under city charter.
The civilian board would review police use-of-force complaints after they are investigated by the Internal Affairs Division. According to language in the proposed ordinance, the board, if established, would be tasked with reviewing those complaints solely as to their “thoroughness, completeness, accuracy and objectivity.”
The council passed the measure 8-to-4 during a four-hour meeting on Nov. 15 during which it had received roughly two hours worth of public comment regarding the proposal. The majority of those who spoke, including police officials and the police union president, stated opposition to establishing a review board.
Scarpati based his veto partly on concerns the board’s establishment could negatively impact the recruitment and retention of police officers. Scarpati also reiterated others’ suggestion that the council’s Public Safety Committee could be utilized to review those investigated complaints. He stated further the review board proposal needed further vetting before it should be acted upon.
Councilors who back the proposal say it will provide greater accountability and public awareness into the police use-of-force investigation process.
Some councilors have also said the board’s scope of authority would be limited to those reviews.
The council would need to vote at least 8 to 4 in favor of an override of Scarpati’s veto for the Civilian Review Board measure to pass.
The meeting, which can be attended in person in the council chambers at City Hall or remotely through the city’s website, will begin at 4:30 p.m.