From Federal to Local Governments, the term “Police Reform” is a hot topic. In State College, recommendations made after a series of meetings and hearings on more Oversight of the Police Force now move on to the next phase.
We do hear more Nationwide now about more Community Oversight of Police. In State College, they’ve been discussing it for several years. The Borough Council now has a Proposed Ordinance for an Oversight Board for the State College Police Department. The Proposed Ordinance is the result of recommendations from an AG HOC Study Committee, that held more than a dozen meetings and public forums in the past year. The call for an Oversight Board increased considerably after the deadly Police involved shooting of Osaze Osagie in State College in 2019.
The Borough Council begins their review of the Draft Ordinance this week. It states “the formation of an Independent Community Police Oversight Board is a necessary step in re-framing the relationship that the Residents of State College have with the Police”. The nine member Oversight Board would be appointed by Borough Council. The Board would receive and investigate complaints about Police through a Civilian Compliant Process. Under the proposal, the Board Members would undergo a training process, and then could also Review, Audit and Monitor selected Police related issues.
Due to the Police Department’s Collective Bargaining Agreements, its not expected the Oversight Board could impose discipline. The Borough Council will first review the Proposed Ordinance in a Work Session. No formal action will be taken, but more meetings and public hearings on the issues are expected in the coming weeks.