CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville’s Police Civilian Review Board met on Thursday and was joined by Del. Sally Hudson, who shared progress on review board measures from the legislative special session.
“I think the floor is pretty good at this point," Hudson, a Democrat who represents the 57th district, said. "I would be shocked if we got out of the special session without a CRB bill.”
Hudson expects a bill to pass, but which version is an important question. Proposals in the Senate and House are different. The House proposal mandates police civilian review boards, while the Senate proposal just endorses them.
“I think all of us want there to be empowered civilian review of law enforcement,” she said. “I think on the other hand there are questions about whether mandating it right here, right now will force some communities to put something together in a scrappy fashion.”
Hudson says she believes the Senate bill is more likely to pass.
This has Bill Mendez, a member of Charlottesville’s board, concerned that much of the power could be left to city council.
“It is possible that we will have to lobby city council pretty hard for every power that we want,” he said.
Both House and Senate bills would give Charlottesville’s board broader powers.
“Things like binding disciplinary authority, which I know was a priority for this board, subpoena power, the right to independent legal counsel,” Hudson said.
Chairman James Watson shared that there have been six internal affairs complaints passed on to the board. The findings of the investigations have to be sent to the board within 75 days. None have reached that deadline so far, and that’s why board member Stuart Evans is reserving praise for police transparency.
“CPD could send us something that is two or three sentences long," Evans said. "So we’ll see how that works out and maybe if we’re dissatisfied with the results we can work on changing that or asking for more details in the future.”
The board also voted to make Mendez the vice-chair and established subcommittees that included a group to engage the community.