Miami/ Community & Society
AI Assisted Icon
Published on April 15, 2024
North Miami to Shutter Citizens Investigative Board in Compliance with New Florida LegislationSource: Wikipedia/Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

North Miami's trust in civilian-led police oversight took a legislative hit with the announcement that the city's Citizens Investigative Board (CIB) will be shuttered, conforming with HB 601's state-wide suppression of Civilian Oversight Agency functions. The city confirmed Friday that come this July, the board will cease its watchdog activities over law enforcement misconduct. This move aligns with the recent passage of House Bill 601, mandating the termination of such civilian oversight as of March 7, 2024.

Founded on a wave of national demand for police accountability, the CIB's curtain call has been met with a mix of dismay and frustration. Following the March 7 passage of House Bill 601, which voted 81-28 in the House, the gears for closure have been set in motion. The bill, after an amendment and a bounce back to the lower chamber, was endorsed, ending any municipal endeavors to handle complaints against police through civilian efforts. Mayor Alix Desulme expressed his values, saying, “As a resident of the State of Florida and the Mayor of the City of North Miami, I am deeply saddened and disappointed that our State’s lawmakers would take legislative action to stop the important work of Civilian Oversight Agencies like North Miami’s Citizens Investigative Board. Back in 2020, when I led the charge to create the Citizens Investigative Board with the support of my City Council colleagues and dedicated staff, the cultural climate and the need for renewed trust from communities across the nation and their law enforcement agencies showed us all that it was both timely and necessary," according to the city's press release.

When its doors flung open in January 2022, the CIB was an embodiment of community aspirations for more transparent and accountable policing. Staffed by six council-appointed residents, the board took on complaints ranging from use of force to discrimination. Facing the 32 filed complaints of last year, the board conducted nine full investigations and even commended an officer for exceptional service.

The effort to wind down operations began under Dr. Philip Harris, Assistant to the City Manager/CIB Executive Director, presenting a road map for the office's demise on March 25. Despite proven strides in fostering community trust and police transparency, these accomplishments now teeter on the brink of becoming a memory. The saga of North Miami's Citizens Investigative Board is marking its final chapter - not by its hand - but under the gavel of the state's lawmakers. Echoing this sentiment, the mayor added, “As an elected leader, I am well-pleased and fully confident in the quality of work, range of skills and level of professionalism shown by our North Miami Police Department and its leadership. Our Citizens Investigations Board played a significant role in ensuring public trust and confidence in local law enforcement through intentional transparency and by giving our residents a voice. Since creating the CIB, we’ve seen noticeable progress as we built public awareness and increased utilization of this vital resource that has been put to an abrupt and unfortunate end.”

For additional details on the North Miami CIB's upcoming discontinuation and its prior workings, information can be found at the board's webpage. Contact with the city’s Communications Director, Eunicia Baker, via email is available for any media inquiries, as this situation develops.

Miami-Community & Society