- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - Columbus officials voted to create a permanent oversight board for the city’s police department in the wake of the shooting death of a 26-year-old man.

Mayor Robert Smith cast the tie-breaking vote Tuesday when the city council split 3-3.

The board will consist of the mayor, two or three councilmen and six citizens, The Commercial Dispatch reported (https://bit.ly/1NrdDAO).

The board’s creation was one of six recommendations brought to the council by a recently formed committee responsible for reviewing work done by the police department’s special operations group. The recommendations followed the Oct. 16 shooting death of Ricky Ball,

Officials say the board will review police-to-community performance, help develop an excessive force policy and ensure a fair and thorough investigation into Ball’s death, among other things.

Councilmen Charlie Box, Bill Gavin and Joseph Mickens said they worried that the committee could venture too far into micromanaging the police department.

Mickens said city leaders already have a reputation for micromanaging the department and he did not want to add to that.

“I don’t want this committee to micromanage the police chief,” Mickens said. “Let this man do his job, because he’s going to be getting phone calls at night from everybody on this committee.”

However, Councilman Marty Turner said he doesn’t see it as micromanaging, but rather transparency.

“We have to remember that the police are there to protect and serve us just like the mayor and council are here to serve and protect the citizens of Columbus,” Turner said.


Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com

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