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Morgantown Citizen Police Review Board has investigative powers removed

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - A big change is coming to Morgantown’s citizen police review board..

5′s John Blashke breaks down the impact.

For over a year the city of Morgantown has been working to establish a citizen review board for police conduct. One of the more controversial powers this board would have is the ability to investigate officers conduct on a case-by-case basis.

But after a lawsuit and a compromise with the police department, Morgantown’s Deputy Mayor Danielle Trumble says the review board no longer has that power.

“So we agreed with them that we would not appeal the decision and they would pursue no further legal action if we took those powers out of the board,” said Trumble. “I think this is a good step -- I myself am happy to get this lawsuit out of the radar and move forward.”

According to Trumble, Morgantown P.D. already has a civil review board consisting of police and the department was concerned the two boards would conflict.

Instead, this citizen board will be reviewing police policy and statistics, offering new suggestions to the department.

However, another concern arose from State Senate Candidate Mike Oliverio. He says currently, people connected to law enforcement are prohibited from serving on the board.

“They want an inclusive review of our Morgantown police department, but they don’t want to allow anyone on the board that has ever served as a police officer that’s in any way related or connected to a police officer and I don’t think that makes any sense,” said Oliverio.

Oliverio went on to say this will add more legitimacy to the board, otherwise they may make uniformed decisions which could wind up doing more harm than good.

“If they put together a board in which nobody has any police experience -- my guess is the recommendations they give back won’t be very good recommendations,” said Oliverio.

Trumble added she’s not opposed to the idea of civil servants on the board, but doesn’t believe it needs to be a requirement.

More decisions such as discussing potential board members will be made later in July

Reporting in Morgantown John Blashke 5 news.

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