If you live in Atlanta and want to monitor local law enforcement officers through the Atlanta Citizen Review Board (ACRB) then city officials, per policy, can exclude you from serving if you are a convicted felon.
But they cannot exclude you if you have never registered to vote.
This, according to ACRB Executive Director Lee Reid.
The Georgia Star News this week asked Reid two specific questions via email: Must members of your citizen review board register to vote? And does city policy permit convicted felons to serve?
To both questions, Reid answered no.
To the latter question, Reid pointed to policy that states that, during a screening process, “if the nominee is determined to have committed a felony, the nomination will be withdrawn.”
ACRB Project Manager Myola Smith said this week that city officials hold the board “to a higher standard.”
“We are investigating the police and law enforcement, so we like to keep that always in the forefront of our minds,” Smith said.
Members of the Georgia General Assembly’s Senate Research Office did not return a request for comment Wednesday to discuss what, if any, state laws regulate or govern citizen oversight boards within the state.
According to documents that Reid sent The Star News this week, Atlanta officials established the ACRB in 2007 to investigate allegations of misconduct against the city’s police and corrections department officials. The board has 13 members. Those board members also make policy recommendations.
ACRB members, the documents went on to say, must understand local, state, and federal laws, as well as various police procedures. The city also requires that board members have analytical skills and, usually, two years of post-secondary education.
Reid said board members must pass a background check and must even prove their own physical fitness for the job.
Atlanta’s mayor, members of the city council and various civic associations, including the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, appoint board members, according to documents Reid sent.
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, Nashville has its own Community Oversight Board. One member, Ovid Timothy Hughes, who served time on felony charges, had to resign from the board.
Also as reported, Hughes somehow skirted the Tennessee Code’s standards for COB membership. Hughes also is not a registered voter.
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