The local police union is vocally opposing the potential creation of a Civilian Review Board to investigate complaints against the Chapel Hill Police Department. The union says supporters are "small pool of representatives ... not reflective of the majority of the community" and that the board's work would amount to "Monday-morning quarterbacking."
"The board will reflect, discuss and decide in the light of day over several hours, days, weeks or even months with no training or knowledge of the intricacies of police work, the decisions an officer must make in split seconds and often at night based on extensive training and experience," said Chapel Hill Police Officer Mike Mineer, President of the Chapel Hill Area Police Protective League, I.U.P.A. Local #105.
The union suggests that, instead, a Civilian Police Academy could help the public better understand police work, "creating common ground of understanding instead of simply creating an adversarial group to put pressure on police departments based on uninformed opinions."
“We serve the community daily in a respectable and professional manner," Mineer said. "We serve a diverse community and take pride in being able to deal with diversity through our education, training, experience and, most importantly, our interaction with the community. Furthermore, our Chief and our Department take pride in the quality of officers employed and strive to provide us with the appropriate training, policies and procedures to equip us with the right attitude and skills to perform to the standard the community expects.”
The International Union of Police Associations has also pledged its full support for the officers and the department.
“The danger here is that faced with oversight from a board with no law enforcement experience or training and coming from a limited agenda of their own is demoralizing to the officers who face danger on any given shift,” said International president Sam A. Cabral. “If officers have to be looking over their shoulder constantly worried about the uninformed judging of their actions, they will have no choice but to proceed more cautiously in all situations. This places them in danger by making them hesitate to act quickly. That hesitation can result in injury or death to them or the citizens they are trying to protect.”
Cabral further stated that officers are already subjected to departmental investigations, investigations by municipal or district attorneys, and even civil lawsuits.
“The redundancy of a group of untrained civilians second-guessing their actions only adds a further burden on officers, and not only fails to protect the safety of the citizens, but interferes with the officers’ ability to carry out their sworn duty to protect the public,” he said.