Thursday, February 2, 2017

Police advisory panel formed to rebuild trust




Posted Jan 17, 2017

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Officials are forming a Reynoldsburg Police Community Advisory Panel to reach out and address community concerns.
The idea for the panel has been in the works for almost a year, after former Reynoldsburg police detective Tye Downard and Lt. Shane Mauger were arrested last year in a federal corruption investigation.
In early 2016, community forums began in order to allow citizens to interact with city police officers in a nonconfrontational manner and voice their concerns.
Police Chief Jim O'Neill said he wants to address the public's lack of confidence in police and facilitate "two-way engagement."
"People seemed to be getting bad information from unreliable sources and that can lead to rage and frustration," he said.
"This committee plans to get information out to the public, address concerns from the community and come up with programs to help."
The Reynoldsburg Police Community Advisory Panel will include nine people: Two police officers, Chief O'Neill, one city council member, one business member (appointed by the Chamber of Commerce), one teacher (to be appointed by the school superintendent), one 11th-grade student (to be recommended by a faculty member and the school resource officer) and two members of the clergy.
At the Jan. 10 city council meeting at 7232 E. Main St., city council voted unanimously to elect Councilman at Large Chris Long to serve on the panel for one year.
"This panel will help open the lines of communication and keep them constant," Long said. "I've seen so many changes in our community over the last 55 years and we need to focus on moving the city forward through consistent communication and through acknowledging our diversity."
The panel will meet every third month. The first open forum meeting will be in March.