Cedar Rapids City Council appoints first members of the new citizen review board

Protesters marching down Bever Avenue in Cedar Rapids, June 13, 2020. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Nine residents of Cedar Rapids have been selected to serve on the independent citizen review board overseeing the city’s police department.

Program Manager April Wing told the Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday the city received 71 applications from residents who wanted to serve on the board. The city accepted applications from residents from mid-February through May.

Applications were first reviewed by the Public Safety and Youth Services Committee of the city council. The committee made recommendations to Mayor Brad Hart, who then brought his selections to the full city council for approval.

The city council approved the members of the citizen review board during Tuesday’s meeting — just over a year after the Advocates for Social Justice called for the creation of a review board during their first protest on June 6, 2020. The city council unanimously adopted the seven demands for change that ASJ proposed, including the review board, during a special council meeting later that month and gave final approval in February for the establishment of the board.

“I think it’s gonna be a terrific way to move forward and provide some transparency but mainly to build trust between our citizens and our police department,” Hart said on Tuesday, adding that by reading the applications he could see how many residents “wanted to try and serve and make a difference in our community.”

“I think we’re off to a good start. A lot of work to do, but I’m very optimistic about it.”

Member terms will be staggered, and individuals can’t serve more than two consecutive terms. Terms will normally be three years but will be different for the first set of members.

Three members will serve a one-year term through June 30, 2022.

• Dedric Doolin
• Alphonce O’Bannon
• Starlet Smith

Another group of three will serve a two-year term through June 30, 2023.

• Kelsey Culver
• Arthur Kim
• Monica Vallejo

The last three members will serve a three-year term through June 30, 2024.

• Aaron Eddy
• Lovar Kidd
• India Snow-Watt

Wing said there are five men and four women on the board. Seven out of the nine members are people of color. The ordinance requires at least five people of color on the board and for all residents to be Cedar Rapids residents.

The ordinance also requires the council to appoint three members from the general public, one attorney, three members involved with a nonprofit focused on racial justice and two members involved with a group focused on social issues.

Dedric Doolin, Cedar Rapids branch president of the NAACP, spoke in front of City Hall during the July 18, 2020, march organized by Advocates for Social Justice. In front of Doolin is a banner that was signed by those who attended the march. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Two CRPD officers have been appointed by Chief Wayne Jerman to serve as technical resources, subject matter experts and communication liaisons.

The board will be responsible for reviewing police data and policies and implementing a program of community outreach, as well as being a part of future police chief candidate selection committees. It will also oversee a monitoring system for tracking complaints against CRPD officers.

Wing said next steps include the members receiving training with the CRPD as they start the rest of their responsibilities.

Each member is required to complete training requirements after being appointed. Training will consist of completing 30 hours worth of curriculum determined by the chief of police within six months of appointment. Members will also receive an additional 10 hours of training per year and will be required to accompany an off-duty CRPD police officer for at least 16 hours per year.

The citizen review board will have its first meeting in July and will meet once a month.