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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Pomona : Police Review Commission

October 29, 1987

Responding to a request by the NAACP for a city commission to investigate complaints against police, Mayor Donna Smith suggested this week that such a commission may already exist.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Smith said the city's Community Life Commission, created in 1971 to promote harmony among various segments of the community, is legally empowered to hear complaints against police. According to the municipal code, the seven-member commission can investigate reports of police brutality and forward its findings to the City Council.

"The city attorney informs us that while this is not a full-fledged police commission, it does (have some police review authority)," Smith said. "I really feel that while we do have a mechanism in place, it has to be used, and it has not been utilized for some time."

Harold Webb, president of the Pomona Valley chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, called for a police commission two weeks ago after chastising police for "acts of racism." At Monday's meeting, Webb said the Community Life Commission was not a suitable substitute.

"We were aware of the Community Life Commission, and we were interested in a police commission . . . because it has broader powers," Webb said.

The council declined to take any action on Webb's proposal until it receives further information on police review commissions in other cities from the NAACP and from Vermont McKinney, a mediator with the U. S. Department of Justice. McKinney is scheduled to meet with Police Chief Richard M. Tefank today.

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