Different approaches, a call for police oversight

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Racial equality and police brutality remain in the spotlight across the nation as well as right here in Northeastern PA. One local city is looking at a potential plan to reassure that’s not a problem.

The way our communities are being policed is under the microscope. That’s why there’s a few schools of thought as to what happens here and whatever actions or oversight needs to start here.

“In my opinion if you’re a good cop and you’re doing you job correctly, you shouldn’t fear oversight,” said Beth Gilbert Mcbride, (D) Wilkes-Barre Council, District E.

Abuse of police power is on the minds of millions, and local elected officials say they want to make sure it’s not a local problem.

In Wilkes-Barre, Mayor George Brown is planning on a citizens advisory board.

But Councilwoman Mcbride says an advisory board lacks authority, so she’s taking another approach.

“A citizen’s review board, if properly written, does hold power and can forward investigations to the proper office,” said Mcbride.

Freshly being tasked to help with statewide law enforcement reforms, Council Chair Bill Barrett says the Mayor’s Advisory Board is enough.

“We have to be very methodical about what we do. We are going to get one shot at this. It’s got to be right. We want to make it right for the residents of the city, our department and everyone to make sure what we’re doing is the right thing,” said Bill Barrett, (D) Chair, Wilkes-Barre City Council, District D.

Community Organizer Daryl Lewis says he hears a lot about how the current structure has checks and balances. But he still sees issues that need to be addressed when it comes to race and abuse of power.

“Perhaps it’s a point of pride to be in a city where they feel as if it doesn’t happen. But to express that it doesn’t happen from their perspective? No. Unfortunately that’s kind of unacceptable,” said Lewis.

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