With the deadline for nominations just three weeks away, members of New Haven’s 12 community management teams are working to compile their respective lists of nominees to the newly formed New Haven Civilian Review Board, or CRB, that will oversee New Haven police officers and investigate police misconduct.
On Jan. 7, the Board of Alders unanimously passed a resolution establishing a citywide civilian review board after decades of demands from New Haven community members and months of contentious debate. Per the ordinance, New Haven’s 12 community management teams — neighborhood teams formed to exchange information and discuss local issues — were given until May 9 to submit the names of potential board members to Mayor Toni Harp’s office.
“I think the biggest challenge is finding folks who have the time and the right motive to join the CRB. We have some very dedicated, passionate and active folks … asking them to find the time to add another, albeit very important, community issue on their already full plates is a lot,” Nadine Horton, chair of the Whalley Edgewood Beaver Hills Management Team, told the News.
According to the ordinance, the board will be comprised of no more than 15 people, including one member from each of the 12 community management teams in the city. All CRB members must be residents of the Elm City.
Harp will appoint all but three CRB members from the list of recommended names. The Board of Alders will appoint individuals for the other three spots — two at-large members from the city and one Alder.
On April 12, Ward 7 Alder Abigail Roth ’90 LAW ’94 sent out the Downtown Wooster Square Community Management Team agenda in an email to members of Ward 7. In the email, the local community management team executive board solicited applications for the CRB and also outlined baseline responsibilities of the board’s members — including attending regular monthly CRB meetings, making reports at regular local community management team meetings, keeping sensitive materials confidential and being available for training and orientation sessions.
At the April 16 Downtown Wooster Square Community Management Team meeting, interested candidates each had an opportunity to speak before the team. According to the initial email sent by Roth, the executive team membership were originally going to vote and submit a ranked list to the Mayor’s office before the May deadline. However, following the meeting, Caroline Smith ’14, chair of the Downtown Wooster Square team, told the News that after the three candidates presented, the executive team decided to submit an unranked list of candidates to the Mayor’s office, since all three interested individuals were qualified candidates.
Horton told the News on April 15 that the process is “going slowly” for the Whalley Edgewood Beaver Hills district. Horton said she approached one person for the job, who is in the process of completing the application form, and is waiting on response from another person that she contacted.
Horton said that her district’s community management team feels as “supported as much as we can be,” but has seen more support from local advocates than from the city. Horton noted that Kerry Ellington, who has long advocated for the establishment of a CRB with subpoena power, personally attended the local management team meeting in March to talk about the nomination process and answer any questions.
Margie Wiener, co-chair of the Westville-West Hills Community Management Team, also said that organizers have been supportive through the process, and that some city alders have attended local meetings to help clarify the process to residents.
New Haven has 10 police districts.
Sammy Westfall | email@example.com