State College Borough Council proposes ordinance for community oversight board for police

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – As racial tension continues to sweep across the U.S., many are calling for police reform, including some local leaders in Centre County.

The State College Borough Council has proposed an ordinance for a community oversight board for the State College Police Department.

According to assistant to the manager Douglas Shontz, the board would build trust, and provide residents with assured accountability.

“So maybe residents that aren’t comfortable going directly to the police chief will now have an avenue to go to this community oversight board to offer complaints and make sure that those complaints are followed through,” said Shontz.

As the draft currently stands, the board could potentially have a role in internal investigations. But not all council members agree with the provision.

“I do not think any civilian, staff member, or committee member should be involved in the actual police investigation. I don’t think they should be observing it. I don’t think they should be asking questions,” said council member Peter Marshall.

On the other hand, council member Evan Myers says he strongly feels auditing should be in the ordinance.

“This whole debate across the country is about making sure that all parts of our government adhere to the same rules and regulations that we expect of our citizens and of everyone else. And that’s what this is about,” said Myers.

Council Member Theresa Lafer agrees.

“I think they should be in there…we are doing this because people want transparency. Us amongst them. We are not happy with what we have seen around the country.  In place after place after place,” said Lafer.

Shontz says that some time next week, the council will be posting the ordinance on their website, and then scheduling a public hearing to receive comments from the community.

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