To the editor:
I was heartened to see the article this week in the Lawrence Journal-World regarding a renewed interest in the development of a police review board for the city of Lawrence.
Our community has advisory boards for everything from recycling to parks to public transportation. Yet our police department, alone, currently operates in isolation, seemingly unaccountable.
The Lawrence Police Department (LPD) budget represents a significant portion of our city's annual spending. Yet, the department is notorious for refusing to provide the public with information about its activities, priorities and performance. Lawrence citizens with concerns about the police have little recourse.
Particularly disturbing is the recent news that the FBI has begun an inquiry into allegations that Lawrence police officers may have presented themselves as FBI agents in the course of an investigation. If true, this breach of trust is truly beyond the pale. What will it take to get the commission to increase the accountability of this department?
I believe it is high time the city of Lawrence implemented an independent, community-based police review board which provides some measure of accountability. Our police department should not operate in a vacuum.
Sadly, it appears that LPD has already begun to publicly resist this latest proposal. In my mind, their ongoing resistance to oversight only further underscores the urgent need for the creation of a police review board.
I encourage the City Commission to give the development of a police review board its full attention.
Laura D. Routh,