A new effort to further enhance transparency and trust between the Jackson Police Department and the community they serve is now officially underway. At their Tuesday, Sept. 28 meeting, the Jackson City Council approved an ordinance that creates the new Community Police Oversight Commission.
The commission will consist of a five-member board of City residents and businesses owners who will advise the City’s Director of Police and Fire Services on community relations, policies, training, hiring and other programming. The ordinance also allows the oversight commission to review Jackson Police Department budgets, misconduct rules, and resident complaints about officer interactions.
Elmer Hitt, Director of Jackson Police and Fire Services, embraces this new approach for the department. “The Jackson Police Department has always prided itself on providing professional police services while striving to treat all persons with respect and dignity. This commission will provide a different level of transparency between the department and the community and assist in strengthening existing relationships and creating new ones,” Director Hitt said.
Mayor Derek Dobies proposed the ordinance to create the oversight commission, and voted in favor of it Tuesday night. “We shouldn’t wait around for the next crisis to hit or movement to arise. It’s important for our City to be continually reviewing police policies and how they impact our residents,” Mayor Dobies said. “I am looking forward to seeing this commission get off the ground and do the hard work of improving police service for both residents and those who wear a badge.”
Those interested in serving on the Community Police Oversight Commission may submit a Board/Commission Application through the City website. Qualified and selected applicants are appointed to serve three-year terms by the Jackson City Council. Monthly meetings will be scheduled once the commission is fully formed.