Establish Civilian Police Review Boards in Cities and Counties in the United States of America

WHEREAS, the League of United Latin American Citizens is this nation’s oldest and largest Latino organization, founded in Corpus Christi, Texas on February 17, 1929; and

WHEREAS, LULAC throughout its history has committed itself to the principles that Latinos have equal access to opportunities in employment, education, housing and healthcare; and

WHEREAS, a Civilian Police Review Board establishes the principle of police accountability. Strong evidence exists to show that a complaint review system encourages citizens to act on their grievances. Even a weak civilian review process is far better than none at all; and

WHEREAS, a Civilian Police Review Board can be an important source of information about police misconduct. A civilian agency is more likely to compile and publish data on patterns of misconduct, especially on officers with chronic problems, than is a police internal affairs agency; and

WHEREAS, a Civilian Review Board can alert police administrators to the steps they must take to curb abuse in their departments. Many well-intentioned police officials have failed to act decisively against police brutality because internal investigations didn't provide them with the facts; and

WHEREAS, LULAC adopts the Ten Principles for an Effective Civilian Review Board (adapted from the ACLU Police Abuse Manual)

1. Independence. The power to conduct hearings, subpoena witnesses, and report findings and recommendations to the public.
2. Investigatory Power. The authority to independently investigate incidents and issue findings on complaints.
3. Mandatory Police Cooperation. Complete access to police witnesses and documents through legal mandate or subpoena power.
4. Adequate Funding. Should not be a lower budget priority than police internal affairs systems.
5. Hearings. Essential for solving credibility questions and enhancing public confidence in process.
6. Reflect Community Diversity. Board and staff should be broadly representative of the community it serves.
7. Policy Recommendations. Civilian oversight can spot problem policies and provide a forum for developing reforms.
8. Statistical Analysis. Public statistical reports can detail trends in allegations, and early warning systems can identify officers who are subjects of unusually numerous complaints.
9. Separate Offices. Should be housed away from police headquarters to maintain independence and credibility with public.
10. Disciplinary Role. Board findings should be considered in determining appropriate disciplinary action; and

WHEREAS, the existence of a civilian review agency, a reform in itself, can help ensure that other needed reforms are implemented. A police department can formulate model policies aimed at deterring and punishing misconduct, but those policies will be meaningless unless a system is in place to guarantee that the policies are aggressively enforced; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the LULAC District 1 Convention in Phoenix, Arizona recommends the establishment of Civilian Police Review Boards in all cities and counties in the United States of America, and the adoption of the Ten Principles for an Effective Civilian Review Board (adapted from the ACLU Police Abuse Manual). This resolution is submitted to the Arizona LULAC State Convention on June 11, 2011 at Arizona State University in Phoenix, June 11, 2011 for approval and adoption.

Approved this 1st day of July 2011.

Margaret Moran
LULAC National President