Yellow Springs residents make new push to improve transparency in police department

Yellow Springs residents make new push to improve transparency in police department (WKEF/WRGT)

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The Village of Yellow Springs is still working to move forward after clashes with officers on New Year's day in 2017.

The police chief was fired, but some residents say issues still linger.

Now Yellow Springs residents like Shawn Paulson are hoping to improve police accountability with the creation of a Civilian Review Board.

For the last 6 months, he and others have asked the village to allow for civilian oversight when it comes to policing.

“Which we currently don’t have," said Paulson. "As it stands today if somebody feels they were treated inappropriately by the police they give the police a call, and sometimes they don’t even get a call back.”

He and other residents pushed for a Civilian Review Board for the Police Department at a Village Justice System Task Force meeting Tuesday night.

The Task Force is in charge of signing off on such a recommendation to Village Council.

Residents don’t want a repeat of New Years Day 2017.

“Everyone who watched it was shocked by it,” said Paulson.

Cell phone video shows officers used cruisers to push people back. The crowd had to back up as they inched closer.

Resident Mike Miller said he would like to see citizens who can hold police accountable and eliminate any chance of bias slipping through policing.

“There has to be a system of checks and balances,” said Miller.

Fox 45 reached out to the Yellow Springs Police, but they did not comment on the suggestion of a Civilian Review Board.

Paulson said he thinks the Department does a good job, but there is much room for improvement.

“I think it’s really important that we are able to step up to the plate and be the values people look up to us to be,” said Paulson.

The Village Justice System Task Force voted to prioritize the creation of a Civilian Review Board.

Some residents are now hoping the Task Force makes the recommendation to the Village Council.

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