EDITORIAL: City Council needs to take action on review board

It’s hard not to see as frustrating the decision to postpone action on a proposal to establish a Civilian Review Board in Meriden to scrutinize complaints of police misconduct and use of force. That’s not because there’s any dire involving the police, but simply because the talks have been going on for months now and it seems a little strange to hear at this point that more discussion is needed.

Dan Brunet, the council minority leader, put it that way after expecting a vote on Sept. 20. “Certainly after six months of discussion, I’m not sure what more needs to be discussed,” he said.

As the Record-Journal reported, action has not been canceled but postponed indefinitely. Council Majority Leader Sonya Jelks said more discussion with city officials and leaders of the police department are needed before a vote should be taken.

“I’m very appreciative that I have the indulgence from the council body to allow those conversations to take place,” she said. “I’m not anticipating that we will not vote on the matter. I’m asking to continue those conversations with leadership in the city.”

This can be interpreted as an effort to take due diligence, and it’s understandable that so sensitive a topic could spur a cautious approach. Yet the purpose of the committee was to do just that, and a 37-page report to the City Council recommended that the city adopt a Civilian Review Board. The City Council ought to be given an opportunity to vote on that recommendation, and voters deserve to see how their elected representatives stand on the issue.

“I believe in the work of the committee and the outcome,” said Sharlene Kerelejza, a committee member. “The push nationally for police accountability is not going to change.”

If more discussion is needed those talks ought to be open and take place as soon as possible. This initiative needs to get back on track.

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