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Detroit Council returns power to police oversight board

Sep 29, 2015

The Detroit City Council during Tuesday's meeting.
Credit Michigan United

The Detroit City Council voted Tuesday to restore full power to the city's board of police commissioners.

The civilian police oversight board was stripped of its power while Detroit was under emergency management in 2013.

Prior to that, the board had the final say in matters of employee discipline and played a role in shaping department policies and procedures.

Former emergency manager Kevyn Orr issued an order that allowed Police Chief Daniel Craig to sidestep the board.

Council Member Mary Sheffield authored the resolution to restore the board's power.

She said recent tension between police officers and community members in other cities shows why an oversight board is necessary.

"This [resolution] is just to make sure we have justice within the department, that we have an impartial body within the department that can oversee any investigation and encounters between law enforcement and the community," Sheffield said.

Mayor Mike Duggan's chief of staff, Alexis Wiley, said the mayor's office is in full support of the resolution.

"[The board of police commissioners] is doing great work, and we look forward to working with them as they expand into their full powers as mandated by charter," Wiley said.

The board's powers will be fully restored in December.