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Council appoints seven to Police CRB

Eighteen months after Charlottesville kicked off the process to establish a Police Civilian Review Board, the City Council has appointed seven members to the panel.

City Council unanimously voted to appoint Gwendolyn Allen, Nancy Carpenter, Stuart Evans, Dierdre Gilmore, Dorenda Johnson, William Mendez Jr. and James Watson to the board at its meeting on Tuesday.

The council received 25 applications for the board, which is geared toward improving public trust in the police department after the violence of 2017. Councilors have interviewed the applicants over the past month.

The city is still seeking applications for a nonvoting member who has policing expertise or experience. The seven people appointed on Tuesday will be voting members.

The council approved the ordinance and bylaws for the police oversight panel in November, although some community members remained frustrated with the final proposal.

An initial panel worked from August 2018 to July 2019 to create a draft of the bylaws eventually approved by the council.

The initial proposal called for two paid positions, an executive director and an auditor, the latter of which would analyze police department data.

The council later approved only an executive director who would provide a report within six months about whether an auditor is warranted. The salary for the director position has not been determined.

At least three of the people appointed are required to represent a historically disadvantaged community or live in public housing.

Councilor Sena Magill said several people on the panel meet that requirement.

Carpenter will fulfill the role of someone who represents a racial or social justice organization. Councilor Lloyd Snook said she is serving as a representative of the National Lawyers Guild.

Allen is a longtime city resident and didn’t include much other biographical information on her application.

Carpenter, who has a bachelor’s in geography from James Madison University, has served on the city’s Human Rights Commission and Community Development Block Grant task force and is the vice president of the Rose Hill Neighborhood Association. She works in the community to assist people who are homeless.

Evans is a Title IX investigator for the University of Virginia.

Gilmore is a lifelong resident of the city and a member of the Public Housing Association of Residents.

Johnson was a member of the city’s Human Rights Task Force and served three years on the Human Rights Commission.

Mendez, in his application, described himself as a semi-retired data scientist with 35 years of experience in public policy consulting.

Watson is the owner of J.M. Watson Group Consulting. The firm works with the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies to manage public works programs.

It’s unclear when the board will hold its first meeting.

Councilor Heather Hill said the board will work with city staff to craft a job posting for the executive director.


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