WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – A citizen police review board could be coming to the City of Washington. It’s something that’s been in the works for the past year, and this week, it will be heard during the city’s monthly council meeting.
The president of the Washington branch of the NAACP, Andrew Goudy, said he feels relations between the Black community and the City of Washington police could be better, so he’s being proactive. That’s why he’s pushing for a citizen police review board.READ MORE: Just Hanging Out: Butler County Man Twice Catches Bear On Camera In His Yard
“We’re not going to wait until something bad happens. We are going to try and prevent it,” said Goudy.
Goudy said it is all about the citizens and their concerns.
“Right now, if anybody has a complaint, they have to take it down to the police station. They feel rather intimidated because number one, they don’t feel anything can be done,” said Goudy.
On top of that, Goudy said they’re worried about retaliation if they do file a complaint. That’s why he went to the mayor, who said there hasn’t been an issue with police and community relations but agrees there should be oversight.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Ending Extended Jobless Benefits, Unemployment Rate Falls Below 5%
“We’ve had some people say we are trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist but I would say we want to get this on the record and there be a process before we have an issue,” said the mayor of the City of Washington, Scott Putnam.
The FOP president in Washington didn’t want to go on camera, but he told KDKA’s Amy Wadas he feels a police review board isn’t necessary. He said there hasn’t been any use of force complaints, or any complaints for that matter. However, he said if a board is created, he wants to see the people who serve on that board go through the same training officers go through.
Goudy stresses it’s all about trust.
“If we can get a police review board, Black people would feel there’s accountability and if there’s accountability, there comes a certain level of trust, and without trust, there will never be good relations,” said Goudy.
A first reading of the ordinance will take place at a council meeting Thursday at 1 p.m. Council will vote on the ordinance in June. If the board is approved, seven people who live in the city will serve on it.MORE NEWS: Hundreds March Through Pittsburgh In Solidarity With Palestine
Meantime, the FOP president encourages people to submit any complaints they have directly to the police station. He said there’s never been any instance of retaliation.