Commissioner pushes for outside agency to review Sanford police dept.


SANFORD, Fla. - A Sanford city commissioner is pushing for an outside consultant to conduct an independent review of the police department following the shooting death of Travon Martin.

The Department of Justice was originally asked but it's already working on its own criminal investigation of the Martin case.

The commissioner said her recommendation came out of meetings with a group of citizens still concerned about how this department is run.

In June, the city of Sanford got a two-page letter from the Department of Justice. It seems to indicate the agency's civil rights division is not pursuing an investigation into the Sanford Police Department right now.

The letter was delivered two months after city leaders flew to Washington and pleaded with the feds in person to review allegations of racial profiling and discrimination toward the black community.

The claims were made after Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

"I'm from the midway community, especially and you always feel there is a difference in how whites are treated and blacks are treated. Although we've come a long way, I must admit we have so much farther to go," said Sanford resident Denice Young.

The city manager said he will consider hiring an independent agency to assess how the department is run.

The recommendation came about two weeks ago from Commissioner Velma Williams, who represents a large part of the black community.

"Getting rid of the chief is not enough. There should be an unbiased internal investigation," said Young.

The city manager said an independent assessment might help rebuild trust as the city works to re-brand itself.

Consultants hired to find a permanent police chief met with residents on Thursday to get input on what they should look for.

This week the city launched a new website, featuring the River Walk and the people who live in Sanford. Revamping the website costs $37,000.