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Mt. Vernon Council: Police Review Board Needed

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Looking to hold police more accountable for their actions, the Mount Vernon City Council wants to reinstate a civilian complaint review board to follow-up on actions deemed questionable by the city’s cops.

Councilwoman Karen Watts-Yehudah said the city needs a board of this type with representation from citizens, the mayor’s office and the City Council. The board is allowed under city charter.

“We need a board with real teeth,” Watts-Yehudah said. “There should be multiple people from the community on it to make sure the people who are employed to serve the city do so in an appropriate fashion.”

Councilman J. Yuhanna Edwards said he is not against establishing the board, but it would need to be done properly if it’s worth having. Councilman Richard Thomas said establishing a civilian complaint review board could go a long way toward reducing crime in the city and allowing Mount Vernon to reach its full economic potential.

“A state study said Mount Vernon has the potential to generate $205 million, which could translate into more money for municipal use,” Thomas said.

Resident Damon Jones, the New York representative for Blacks in Law Enforcement, a police association, is pushing the idea of establishing a civilian complaint review board because, he said, it would go a long way toward building that partnership between the community and the police.

“It’s bad enough that a majority of the police officers in Mount Vernon are from outside the city,” Jones said. “This is the only way to build better relationships to solve homicides so the community can turn over the bad guys and the citizens feel safe enough to turn them over.”

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