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Police oversight plan inches forward

The creation of a civilian oversight authority for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department is one step closer to becoming reality. At a meeting of the ACC Commission’s Government Operations Committee last week, members unanimously approved a draft ordinance that spells out the oversight board’s creation. That draft legislation now moves on to the full Commission for a vote, possibly at their October 5th meeting.

Before approving the draft ordinance, committee members made a few final changes, including giving the oversight board some authority to monitor and investigate the Clarke County Jail. That move necessitated a name change, and the board, if approved, would become the Public Safety Oversight Board.

Committee members also discussed adding ex-officio members to the oversight board, including representatives from the Clarke County Sheriff and the jail warden’s offices, as well as one Commissioner. The suggestion to add one Commissioner to the oversight board was one that not all Commissioners agreed with.

District 3’s Melissa Link supported adding one of her colleagues to the board, telling committee members, "The work that this board is going to be doing is going to be of great interest to the public, and [the ACC Commission] is the body which the public has direct contact with."

The Chief of Police and County Attorney or their designees will also be ex-officio members.

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