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Chief Brian Dugan seeking applications for Tampa police advisory committee

The 10-member committee is the latest in a number of responses by law enforcement agencies across Tampa Bay to address calls for police reform.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan is appointing a chief's advisory committee separate from the Citizen Review Board, the police oversight panel appointed by the mayor and City Council.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan is appointing a chief's advisory committee separate from the Citizen Review Board, the police oversight panel appointed by the mayor and City Council. [ Facebook ]
Published Jul. 15, 2020|Updated Jul. 15, 2020

TAMPA — Police Chief Brian Dugan is taking applications for a 10-member committee to advise him on department issues and building better relationships and trust between officers and the community.

The committee is the latest in a number of responses by law enforcement agencies across Tampa Bay to address calls for police reform following the death of George Floyd, the Black man who died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.

Related: Mayor Jane Castor says her police chief isn’t going anywhere

Dugan will choose the members of the new Chief’s Community Advisory Team. They will serve one-year terms.

Here are the qualifications required of members: They must be residents of the city of Tampa for the past five years “in good standing with the community” and available to meet one on one with the chief at scheduled times, according to a news release Wednesday.

A diverse team will be selected to ensure Dugan hears directly from community members, the news release said.

Applications will be accepted for thirty days.

Related: Protesters: Reform the Tampa Police Department — or abolish it

“I look forward to working with people from all walks of life and to listen to their thoughts on how we police the city of Tampa,” Dugan said in the release.

Here is the committee’s mission: “To establish and maintain direct, open, and ongoing dialogue between members of the community and the Chief of Police with the purpose of enhancing community relations, re-building trust and generating ideas for positive change to community policing.”

Dugan invited people to apply for the committee during a meeting June 23 of Tampa’s Citizen Review Board, the city’s police oversight board. The board is appointed by the mayor and city council.

But many in the overflow crowd jeered and interrupted when the chief spoke. They called for the police department to be defunded or abolished, saying officers have used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators who had been marching in the city against police brutality and racism.

Related: NAACP, ACLU and Hillsborough police leaders announce agreement

The meeting came the day after Dugan held a news conference to express his frustration at anti-police sentiment.

“The police, we always have everybody’s back and nobody has our back,” he said at the news conference. “Right now the officers feel like they can’t win. And I would have to agree with them.”

The day after the Citizens Review Board meeting, Dugan joined other law enforcement leaders in Hillsborough County to announce five countywide policy measures that resulted from a meeting with representatives of the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union.

Among the measures are establishing a duty for officers to intervene when they see other officers using excessive force and turning over investigations of deaths in police custody to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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Dugan said during that announcement, “I think the problem is law enforcement is driving too many of those conversations and maybe we need to start listening more so we can get to where we need to be.”

Related: Police in St. Petersburg to step back from nonviolent emergency calls

Among other recent reform measures put in place across Tampa Bay is a move by St. Petersburg to replace officers with social workers on certain calls, including those involving people who are intoxicated or have overdosed, people who are in mental health crises or are suicidal, homeless people, neighbor disputes and disorderly kids or truants. The social workers will be in regular clothes and will not be armed.