A caller on a local radio talk show recently asked why anyone would NOT want a review board for the Champaign Police. This individual was passionate in his discussion. He offered that if the Police did nothing wrong, they should have nothing to fear ... just as the Police tell citizens.
In principle, this is a legitimate argument. Any agency performing a function on behalf of the public should be subject to oversight of some sort. In principle, the statement that someone doing no wrong ought not fear consequences is correct, whether it applies to law enforcement officers or high school kids.
However, I have great reservations about how all this may transpire in practice, especially now. Many talk show callers and e-news posters are convinced a review board is necessary either to punish Police or to protect Police. There seems to be little objectivity or impartiality. The desire for a review body seems to be promoted by the extremes, not the middle; those with a predisposed agenda or an axe to grind. Given this motivation, the review body could end up representing the worst of the community, the most militant and vocal, not the fairest or wisest.
I also fear the tyranny of Political Correctness. PC can overwhelm common sense, and has done so in this community. It would be the Police who will be intimidated, not lawbreakers. I fear if a review board gets out of hand the Police will be as handicapped in protecting and serving a peaceful community as teachers now are in imposing discipline in the classroom.
For now, I submit the appropriate action is to maintain the status quo, ensure existing checks and balances are working and avoid a knee-jerk reaction that will make matters worse. A review board may be a necessary and constructive service for the community. But it should be formed under an entirely different set of circumstances than exist here at present.