Utah passes bill banning independent civilian police review boards

The bill bans oversight powers for independent civilian boards


By PoliceOne Staff

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has passed a bill banning oversight powers for independent civilian boards that review police departments, local news station KUTV reports.

The bill is a “pre-emptive thing” against the rise of “anti-law enforcement activist” groups, Republican Sen. Don Ipson said. 

According to the bill, independent civilian groups can meet to discuss police policies but won’t have authority over a police chief’s decisions or department procedures.

"There isn't a problem now," Ipson said, "but we feel like there is one coming if we don't do this."

The bill is a response to a proposal for an elected board with veto powers over the Salt Lake City Police Department. Opponents say the bill prevents community action in response to police misconduct.

"This is what oversight needs," said David Newlin, an organizer for Utahns Against Police Brutality. "You're supposed to have an independent body — somebody who is fundamentally removed from the body you're overseeing otherwise you're running into problems and running into conflicts of interest."

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