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43 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 1 (2009-2010)
Arrested Oversight: A Comparative Analysis and Case Study of How Civilian Oversight of the Police Should Function and How It Fails

handle is hein.journals/collsp43 and id is 3 raw text is: Arrested Oversight: A Comparative
Analysis and Case Study of How
Civilian Oversight of the Police
Should Function and How it Fails
BY STEPHEN CLARKE*
Police misconduct is a multi-faceted problem that no city can permanently
solve, but every city must struggle with. Local politicians, courts and po-
lice departments generally do not do enough to punish and deter routine
acts of police misconduct or to reform problematic police department poli-
cies. As a result, many municipalities across America have used civilian
oversight of the police to address the problem of police misconduct. Un-
fortunately, numerous civilian oversight bodies have failed and been ab-
olished while others have endured despite being roundly condemned as
failures. Existing studies of civilian oversight have done little to indicate
how failed civilian oversight bodies can be and should be reformed. In or-
der to build a roadmap for reform, this Note details the oversight gap that
civilian oversight has been used to fill and explores strengths and weak-
nesses of different types of civilian oversight bodies. It then argues that
New York City's existing civilian oversight system has failed and proposes
a series of reforms to improve how New York City's civilian oversight sys-
tem functions.
I. INTRODUCTION
Police misconduct is a persistent, multi-faceted problem that
no city can permanently solve.1 Cities must constantly struggle
* The author would like to thank Professor Jeffrey Fagan, Rachel Deutsch, Theo-
dore Holt, Kathryn Davis, the investigators of the New York City Civilian Complaint
Review Board, and the complainants whose stories inspired this work.
1. See 6 THE N.Y. CITY COMM'N TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF POLICE
CORRUPTION & THE ANTI-CORRUPTION PROCS OF THE POLICE DEP'T, NEW YORK CITY
POLICE CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION COMMISSIONS, 1894-1994, 1 (Gabriel J. Chin ed.,

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