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Virginia Beach to get citizens review panel task force

The advisory panel is seen as an effort to build trust and transparency with the police department.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The City of Virginia Beach is establishing a citizens review panel task force.

City council narrowly voted in favor of creating one at its meeting on Tuesday, by a six-to-five vote. It's seen as an effort to build trust and transparency with the police department.

The task force will consist of 11 members and will serve as an advisory panel for city council. It will study five topics and report its findings to the council:

  1. The difference between investigatory power and subpoena power, and whether investigatory power can be utilized without subpoena power
  2. The purpose and designation of a budget for the citizens review panel
  3. The impact of a citizens review panel on the Police Department
  4. Identifying the best model that the City of Virginia Beach should adopt
  5. Other pertinent topics regarding the development of the citizens review panel.

City council has weighed the creation of a task force following several public presentations on civilian oversight of police, and it was in the works before last month's fatal shooting of Donovon Lynch by a Virginia Beach Police officer.

Also at Tuesday night's meeting, the city council unanimously approved an increase in supporting some proposed police initiatives. It would go toward adding more cameras, an expanded gunshot detection system, and better lighting at the Oceanfront.

The city manager has proposed taking $1.87 million from the pandemic relief fund to fund those initiatives.

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