Syracuse's Citizen Review Board celebrates 30 years of service
The Citizen Review Board of Syracuse is celebrating 30 years of public advocacy.
In 1993, Local Law 11 was approved by Syracuse Common Council, green-lighting the creation of the city’s Citizen Review Board.
Now, the board is celebrating thirty years of service with community discussion and a march downtown to Syracuse City Hall. On Wednesday, the march concluded with a press conference on the steps of City Hall where board members and supporters discussed the work of the board. State Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse), Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens and Citizen Review Board Founder Charles Anderson also spoke during the event.
Current board administrator Ranette Releford said the board’s support over the last 30 years is what has made the whole thing possible.
“The CRB is only as good as the people who utilize it, the people that honor the legislation, in terms of our elected officials, the Syracuse Police Department,” Releford said.
The board consists of 11 members appointed by the mayor and the common council. Members are tasked with hearing complaints from individuals about SPD personnel, independently investigating complaints and making recommendations on policy procedures and training to SPD. Releford said it is important to know what CRB truly stands for.
“We want to make sure that you know that we are not anti-police, we are anti-misconduct,” Releford said.
After a number of landmark cases in the city, where police-involved shootings and beatings occurred, community discussion and outrage turned into an advocacy group. In 1991 Syracuse Common Council formed a task force on community and police relations, eventually leading to the approval of the Citizen Review Board. As a Syracuse native, Releford said it has been an honor to continue this fight for her home.
“I believe that our community needs this,” Releford said. “I believe that our community deserves this. And so, it is an honor to be in this position working for the community in this capacity.”