- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A new civilian panel aimed at monitoring Albuquerque’s troubled police department is seeking members as city officials and the U.S. Justice Department work to develop a plan on reforms.

City councilors on Thursday announced the application process for residents to serve on the nine-member police oversight board.

Last month, councilors approved a measure creating the new civilian agency independent of the mayoral administration and council. It would investigate and decide citizen complaints against police, analyze trends and provide policy recommendations.

City officials now are accepting applications until Nov. 30 from residents seeking to serve.

Members will be appointed for up to three-year staggered terms and are eligible for reappointment for an additional full term. Appointments are at the discretion of the Albuquerque City Council.

“I am pleased that we have a new system in place that will vastly improve the civilian oversight of the Albuquerque Police Department,” Councilor Brad Winter said. “We have worked diligently to get to this point, and I am confident that we will have outstanding and qualified applicants to serve in a volunteer capacity on the police oversight board.”

The new panel is part of a pending Justice Department blueprint for reforming the city’s police department.

For months, the city has been rocked by angry protests and a Justice Department investigation involving cases of excessive force. The city also has faced scrutiny for more than 40 police shootings since 2010.

The city also is working on a plan to hold community conversations to gather feedback from the public on police reforms.

The Albuquerque Police Department now requires all officers to wear lapel cameras in interactions with the public and has increased the requirements for incoming cadets.

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