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Monday, Aug 20, 2018
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Tampa police oversight board wants more resident input on policing

Tampa's Citizen Review Board has been taking the pulse of residents' feelings lately about the city's policing tactics.

This week, the nine-member board decided to keep the listening post open for several more weeks.

An  anonymous online survey, launched a few months ago, has received about 500 responses.

But board members wanted more responses and more diverse respondents. On Tuesday, they voted unanimously to extend the deadline until March 16.

New York University School of Law's Policing Project, along with Joseph Swanson, an attorney at Tampa's Carlton Fields law firm, is conducting the voluntary poll, which doesn't have the same type of statistical rigor as political polling.

Instead, the survey is designed to give the two-year-old board an idea of what topics to pursue in its future monthly meetings, said Tampa police spokesman Stephen Hegarty.

It will also give the board a "baseline" of community attitudes about the police department, he said.

The board was created after an uproar caused by a Tampa Bay Times investigation that found black bicyclists were disproportionately ticketed by police for a variety of infractions.  Some said the board wasn't given enough power.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, Chairman Rasheed Ali Aquil was elected to another term as way Vice Chairwoman Irene Guy.

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