Civilian Complaint Review Board (New York City) - All Civilian Agency - In 1993, after extensive debate
and public comment, Mayor David Dinkins and the New York City Council created the Civilian Complaint Review Board in its current,
all-civilian form. The agency was granted subpoena power (one issue cited in the Tompkins Square Park report by the police
department's CCRB was that without subpoena power, it could not obtain filmed footage from local media outlets) and authority to
recommend discipline in cases that the board substantiated. However, the agency was underfunded at its inception, leaving it
unable to cope with the large number of complaints it received.
After the Abner Louima incident in 1997, the CCRB's budget was steadily increased, allowing the agency to hire dozens more
investigators and experienced managers who oversee investigations. The new civilian investigators, led by the managers, have
dramatically improved the agency performance. Now the largest civilian oversight agency in the country, the CCRB has investigated
thousands of complaints, leading to discipline for hundreds of police officers. The CCRB remains dedicated to its core mission of
thoroughly and impartially investigating all complaints it receives.
Independent Review Office of the Police Oversight Commission (Albuquerque, NM) -
The Independent Review Office (IRO) receives citizen complaints involving the Albuquerque Police Department and its employees.
The complaints will be assigned to either an IRO Investigator or the Internal Affairs division of the Albuquerque Police Department
(APD). Recommended findings are forwarded to the Chief of Police who has sole authority for discipline. Citizens may appeal the
final disposition of their complaints to the Police Oversight Commission (POC). In addition, the IRO may make recommendations
regarding APD policies and procedures to the Chief of Police, the City Council and the Mayor. The Office was created by City
Ordinance, effective January 1999.
- Review, evaluation and establishment of Police Department policies,
rules and regulations
- Review and approve Police Department budget
- Act as final authority in imposing and reviewing discipline of
employees of the Department
- Prepare an Annual Report of Police Department activities, including
the handling of crime, complaints and of future plans
- Review and approve Police Department promotions
National Association for Civilian Oversight of
Law Enforcement - In 1993, several mem-bers of the U.S.
delegation to the International Association for Civilian Oversight of Law
Enforcement (IACOLE) conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts met to
discuss issues of mutual concern relating to civilian oversight within the
United Sates. The agenda of this meeting was the formation of a national
organization to address the specific needs of civilians organized for law
At the 1994 IACOLE conference in Orlando, Florida, U.S. delegates continued
to discuss the creation of the new national organization. In April of 1995, a
group of individuals met in Landover, Maryland and approved the articles of
incorporation and preliminary bylaws. On May 16, 1995, the National
Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) began its
operations. As NACOLE continues to grow, the relationship between police
and community - particularly the minority community -continues to be one of
the most critical social issues facing this country. The number of civilian
oversight agencies in the U.S. has significantly increased. Of the nation’s
100 largest cities, 71 have citizen review mechanisms. Since 1996, NACOLE
has assisted more than 20 cities in their establishment of systems.
NACOLE recognizes that the majority of law enforcement officers strive,
often under dangerous and demanding circumstances, to carry out their
duties in a restrained, lawful and professional manner. Despite this, the
United States has a growing crisis of police misconduct. Citizens want to
feel secure that police officers are in the community to serve and protect all
citizens of that community. We believe that citizens have a right to
assurance that adequate mechanisms are available to review and
investigate questionable or unacceptable actions of law enforcement
"The integrity of the civilian review board will derive from
direct civilian review of police conduct, not a civilian review of
"It is imperative that the director be a tenacious individual for
the first few years of any civilian review board prove to be its
"Having current or former police officers on the CRB can be
"It is important that the investigator is not a sworn officer or
"The civilian review board requires the authority to act
independently to receive, investigate, conduct hearings on, and
issue findings on complaints. It also requires the authority to
"The CRB requires the authority to compel the police
department to provide it with a disciplinary matrix or table
describing the range of penalties that officers should expect for
various offenses. This will assist the Board in removing the
broad discretion currently exercised by some police officials in
"It is imperative that the police are required to accept the
findings of the CRB as well as implement the sanctions imposed
by the CRB."
Read the full text here...
Office of the Police Monitor (Austin, TX) - The Police Monitor’s Office is the main location for accepting complaints filed by members of the public
against police officers. To file a complaint with the Office of the Police Monitor the public can contact our office by telephone, fax, or in person. The Police Monitor or a
member of the Police Monitor’s office will conduct an initial interview with the complainant and will explain the oversight and investigative process.
The Internal Affairs Division of the Austin Police Department will conduct an investigation. The Monitor’s office will participate in the APD Intake investigation. The
Police Monitor will make policy recommendations to the Chief of Police. (This site contains summaries of recent individual police disciplinary
Police Review Commission (Berkeley, CA) - The PRC makes findings about allegations in the complaint but cannot make recommendations
about discipline of officers. The City Manager makes decisions about discipline after reviewing the findings of the PRC and Internal Affairs. Complainants are informed
by mail of the City Manager’s response. All complaints filed with the PRC become part of the officer’s permanent record, whether or not the allegations are sustained.
Office of the Community Ombudsman (Boise, ID) - This office was established to investigate complaints of misconduct against Boise City
police and law enforcement officers. The ombudsman's office is independent from all other City departments and reports directly to the Mayor and City Council.
Police Review and Advisory Board (Cambridge, MA) - The process is initiated by the filing of a complaint with the Board. Each case is
received and investigated by the Board staff. Although the staff member is responsible for doing the investigation, she or he makes no decisions on the merits of any
complaint. The Board alone decides on the merit of each complaint. Once a complaint is filed and a preliminary investigation is done, the Board orders a full
investigation or dismisses the complaint. A full hearing includes both the complainant and police officer(s). After a full investigation is completed, the Board may
dismiss the complaint, mediate, or order a hearing. Following a hearing, the Board will render a final decision. If the Board finds a violation, it will make a
recommendation to the City Manager as to what action(s) should be taken.
Police Advisory Commission (Philadelphia, PA) - The Commission is authorized by Executive Order 8-93 to conduct investigations of
individual citizen complaints of police misconduct, and/or studies of police department policies, procedures or practices. Findings and recommendations made by the
Commission are forwarded directly to the Mayor, the City Managing Director and the Police Commissioner for their review and appropriate action.
Chicago Police Board (Chicago, IL) - The Police Board of the City of Chicago is a civilian body that oversees various activities of the Chicago Police
Department. The Board derives its authority from city ordinance, state law, and relevant court decisions. The Board's powers and responsibilities include the following:
The Board decides disciplinary cases when the superintendent of police files charges to discharge or suspend for more than one year a police officer.
The Board considers appeals from police officers facing disciplinary suspensions of 6 through 365 days.
When there is a vacancy in the position of superintendent of police, the Board reviews applications, conducts interviews, and submits to the mayor a list of three
candidates; the mayor must choose from the list or request another list from the Board.
The Board adopts rules and regulations governing the conduct of sworn and civilian members of the Police Department.
The Board is responsible for monitoring the Police Department’s, and the City’s, compliance with the terms of the federal court consent decree and judgment order
regarding citizens’ First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and association.
Police Citizens' Review Board (Iowa City, IA) - The PCRB reviews reports prepared after investigation of complaints about alleged police
misconduct. It then issues its own written reports that contain detailed findings of fact and conclusions that explain why and the extent to which complaints should be
sustained or not sustained. The PCRB maintains a central registry of complaints against sworn police officers and prepares annual reports to the City Council on the
disposition of these complaints.
The PCRB reviews police policies, procedures, and practices, and may recommend modifications to them. It may recommend that the City Council hold public forums
and/or hearings designed to encourage citizens to provide information, recommendations, and opinions about police policies, procedures, and practices.
The PCRB has only limited civil administrative review powers and has no power or authority over criminal matters or police discipline. It is not a court of law and is not
intended to substitute for any form of legal action against the Police Department or the City.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Citizen Review Board (Las Vegas, NV) - (Review Board) is composed of
twenty-five citizens who are appointed by two members of the Las Vegas City Council and two members of the Clark County Board of County Commissioners . The
Review Board was established for the purpose of receiving and investigating complaints of misconduct by peace officers of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
Department (METRO) in the performance of their duties. The Review Board is also able to investigate any deaths, which occurred while in the custody of, or in
connection with, actions of METRO police officers. The Review Board advises METRO regarding citizens' complaints or departmental policies and practices and makes
recommendations to the Sheriff regarding discipline, policies, procedures, and programs.
Citizen Police Complaint Commission (Long Beach, CA) - The Commission has 11 members. Commissioners are nominated by District
City Council members and appointed by the Mayor. Two at-large Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor.
Commissioners are appointed to two-year terms. They represent a cross-section of the community and are chosen because of their sensitivity to the concerns of the
community. Commissioners receive extensive training in the policies and practices of the Police Department and are kept informed of the latest court decisions and
policies which affect police discipline and personnel investigations.
Citizens' Police Review Board (Pittsburgh, PA) - The CPRB is made up of seven unpaid board members appointed by City Council and the
Mayor. Board members serve a four-year term. While serving, they oversee all aspects of complaint handling: from initial review to public hearings and meetings to
recommendations, if applicable.
Providence External Review Authority (Providence, RI) - The purpose of the Providence External Review Authority (PERA) is to
investigate allegations of misconduct on the part of officers of the Providence Police Department, to make findings of fact and to make recommendations of potential
disciplinary action to the Chief of Police.
Citizen Complaint Oversight Panel (Prince Georges County, MD) - The mission of the Citizen Complaint Oversight Panel is to
strengthen the partnership between citizens and the Prince George's County police by assuring the public that investigations of alleged excessive force, abusive
language and/or harassment are complete, thorough, and impartial; and that the report and recommendations of the investigating unit are reasonable and appropriate
under the circumstances.
Independent Police Review Division (Portland, OR) - The Independent Police Review Division (IPR) and the nine-member Citizen Review
Committee ( CRC) were created in 2001 to help improve police accountability, promote higher standards of police services, and increase public confidence.
IPR has five primary responsibilities:
- Receive citizen complaints alleging misconduct by Portland police officers.
- Monitor investigations conducted by the Bureau’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD) and conduct joint or independent investigations if necessary.
- Report on complaint and investigation activities and recommend policy changes to prevent future problems.
- Hire a qualified expert to review closed investigations of officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths and report on policy and quality of investigation issues.
- Coordinate appeals filed by citizens and officers with the CRC and City Council.
Police Citizen Review Subcommittee (Portland, ME) - The PCRS has six commissioners and one alternate. The PCRS will review the
process of police investigations of citizens’ complaints, solicit public input on the police citizen complaint process, report to the City Manager on the results of their
case review, and issue recommendations for improving the police investigation process, training and public confidence in the citizen complaint process.
Board of Police Commissioners (Detroit, MI) - The Board has plenary authority over citizen complaints and
has the power to appoint fact finders, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony, and require the production of
evidence. In 1984, the Detroit Police Department’s Professional Standards Section was merged with the Board’s Office of the Chief
Investigator to jointly provide effective and meaningful investigations of complaints about the police department and its personnel in
accordance with Charter mandate. The Office of the Chief Investigator operates independent of the Detroit Police Department’s
chain of command. A civilian Chief Investigator who is appointed by the Board heads this office.
The Board also appoints the Director of Police Personnel. This provision strengthens civilian control over important personnel
functions, such as, hiring practices, written, oral, and medical examinations. The Board also approves all promotions within the