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Jackson Mayor seeks approval of citizen-led police oversight board

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Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies is seeking the City Council’s approval to create a citizens’ police oversight commission.

Commissioners would host community meetings and advise the police department on its budget.

The commission would not have the authority to discipline police officers, but members could subpoena witnesses before making policy recommendations.

The commission is one of several proposals advanced in Jackson following protests over George Floyd’s 2020 murder in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin. Recently, the police department revised its use of force policy and Dobies says he hopes the commission leads to more reforms.

"That should not be something that necessarily requires a movement or some sort of tragedy to bring into effect," Dobies said. "It should be something that's continual and happens between the community and the police department."

The mayor would appoint five city residents or business owners to sit on the commission. People who served as Jackson police officers or other types of city employees within the last five years cannot apply.

Dobies plans to introduce a draft of the proposal during a City Council meeting Sept. 14.