Sharon Fairley’s Study Finds Increase of Police Oversight Boards

Police Oversight Boards Proliferate After George Floyd's Death

The nationwide activism that followed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020 helped spur a sharp rise in the number of law enforcement oversight boards across the U.S., according to a paper by a University of Chicago Law School professor.

In one year, there were 25 civilian law enforcement oversight boards formed around the country, the same total number that were established during the previous four years, the study found. This “unprecedented level of productivity” in board formation could “reshape the landscape of civilian oversight," the paper added.

A lack of transparency in policing is a growing concern for communities nationwide, and there is a ballooning list of incidents involving citizens and police where “law enforcement failed to provide accurate and timely Information,” the report said. The author, law professor Sharon R. Fairley, wrote that her survey of the 100 most populous U.S. cities shows that communities continue to value these boards as an effective way to hold law enforcement accountable and to allow for residents’ input into policing policies and operations. 

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