Editorial: Detente comes to Tampa police review board fight

Published Sept. 25, 2015

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the City Council are finally headed in the right direction on the creation of an advisory board that will examine closed police internal affairs cases. The two sides are right to stop the needless bickering and work together on an issue so important to so many residents.

The council wisely voted on Thursday to have Chairman Frank Reddick meet with the mayor to explore a compromise on the makeup of the Citizens Review Board. Buckhorn, who has for weeks acted more like a bulldozer than a conciliator, also extended an olive branch. He agreed to let the council appoint four people to the 11-member board, two more than he had proposed when he created the panel by executive order last month.

This is a welcome truce. The issue is too important to fall victim to political gamesmanship, particularly amid a stretch of increased violence in Tampa and fraying relationships between law enforcement and minority communities nationwide.

The mayor's offer seems solid and would allow the council to appoint one board member from each of the city's four districts. This is a step toward equitable representation that will bolster the panel's credibility. It shouldn't have taken weeks of discord to reach this point. But now that both sides are communicating, they should keep going.