CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – The borough of State College’s second public hearing for an oversight board for its police department ended up getting heated, with many community members split on the need.
Those in support of the COB stressed that it be completely independent from the borough. They also asked that its selection of members be fair and impartial, with many raising concerns about a section of the ordinance that would allow a former law enforcement officer to serve, if not employed in the past three years; it was voiced that this could be problematic and lead to biases on the board.
Those not in favor of it, questioned why State College Police needed any oversight at all.
“I believe its redundant…and hope that when you find after 2 years that this board was completely unnecessary. It was an unnecessary expensive venture,that it will be stopped and not continued for decades and decades,” said one borough resident.
Another College Township resident felt the COB is necessary, “For a lot of people the police represent safety. For obvious reasons but for many others particularly the Black American community, they do not. And I would urge everyone to consider viewpoints other than their own and consider the fact that, their safety, what they mean and what they feel makes them safe is not the same for everybody. And this oversight board is just one step, but a necessary step to making sure that all citizens of the community can actually feel safe.”
Council will discuss the public’s input on Aug. 9 at their council work session. Adoption for an ordinance is currently scheduled for Aug. 16.
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