After being hired on as the new Provo Chief of Police, John King felt it was imperative to have a council made up of citizens who could provide invaluable feedback to the police department. The hope was to pull together diverse leadership from different communities in our city to meet regularly for discussion with the chief and his leadership.
After a year into his post Chief King was able to put together the first Provo Police Citizens Advisory Board. The board consists of about fifteen people, including officers, community leaders, and citizens. Perhaps what sets this board apart from other types of advisory boards is the willingness to talk about tough issues that elicit strong emotions—including racism, discrimination and sexual assault. Chief King and his officers ask for feedback on their performance as a department and proactively present what they are doing to earn the trust of the community.
In between these monthly meetings the board is actively chatting on email as well as online. For an example, the board posted this discussion-starter in the Provo Police Citizens Advisory Board Facebook page last year:
Chief King wanted to know the board’s thoughts on how certain disciplinary actions involving police officers should be handled. The scenarios that we were given were the following: 1. An officer is arrested for DUI 2. An officer fails a random drug test 3. An officer uses NCIC data base for non-professional use 4. An officer is rude on a traffic stop 5. A sergeant is found asleep on-duty 6. A lieutenant falsifies crime stats 7. A captain repeated fails handgun qualifications.
As you can image, the opinions of the boards members were as varied and diverse as the board itself.
While Chief King has reiterated that the goal of the advisory board is transparency, the relationships of board members to the police department have been a positive outcome of this monthly discussion.