Ideal Police Oversight and Review: The Next Piece of the Community Policing Puzzle
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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There has been independent oversight of law enforcement complaints for over a hundred years in the United States, but recent cases of perceived excessive use of force by law enforcement officers have thrust independent oversight into the national forefront. This thesis set out to discover frameworks, operation methods, and responsibilities of independent oversight of cases involving police excessive use of force by researching the current structures and practices of oversight bodies across Americahow they differ from each other, how they are successfuland determining whether there should be a national standard. This research includes oversight boards from small, medium, and large American municipalities with law enforcement agencies whose ethnic diversity is not reflective of their communities. Through the use of a request for information, 12 independent oversight boards were examined. The research suggests there is no consistency across independent oversight boards, no standard for independent oversight board frameworks, and no tracking of their efficiency toward organizational or academically suggested goals. Nor is there a central repository where lessons learned and best practices can be catalogued and distributed. This thesis provides recommendations for future research on independent oversight boards.