Citizen review boards find footing in Osceola County

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — People across the country continue to demand accountability and transparency of law enforcement.

Here in Central Florida, that work is being done.

Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell is in the process of creating the city’s first Citizen Review Board.

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The City Commission gave him the thumbs up, and applications will be available soon. They are looking for about five to seen people who work or live in Kissimmee to serve on the board, all in the name of transparency.

“It just is another opportunity for us to say, here we are, here’s how we handle it,” O’Dell said.

The group will review internal affairs on officer conduct or demeanor, as well as use of force complaints. It will also be able to bring up any community concerns directly to the chief.

“I do want to hear what things maybe (don’t) sit well with the community,” O’Dell said. “Maybe it’s an understanding, or maybe it’s a practice that they just don’t like, and, and it gives us an opportunity to hear that and adjust our policies accordingly.”

At the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Marcos Lopez while running for office said he wanted to implement a community advisory board.

“We’ve got the logo, we’ve got the bylaws, we’ve got the policy and procedures,” Lopez said.

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He said the board will review deputy misconduct, make suggestions for training and ultimately hold all deputies accountable.

Lopez said the board is still in the works, but he’s happy with the progress made.

“That was one of the main things I wanted to get done. Just keep that transparency open with the public,” Lopez said.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.