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Police Oversight Board

Ms. Flores,

I was not able to attend the city council meeting last Monday, but want to weigh in on the subject of establishing a civilian police oversight board. I was on the grievance committee for the NM Veterinary Medical Association for 4 years, serving as chairman my last year. We reviewed all the complaints filed against a veterinarian in NM , and if we saw evidence of malpractice or other illegal or unethical actions we referred the matter to the state board. I can honestly say that in four years we only saw one instance of improper activity requiring further disciplinary action. The largest  number of complaints came because of communication breakdowns with clients. However a civilian trying to evaluate these situations would lack the functional perspective needed to make proper recommendations for resolving the issue at hand in many cases. This same principle applies to a civilian board evaluating police decisions. Checks and balances are necessary in organizations to ensure that they play by the rules for the protection of their members and others with whom they interact. The stresses of police work cannot be understood by someone with no comparable experience. Irregardless of one’s opinion regarding the role  of police in maintaining a civil society it is not fair to judge the actions and decisions of a police officer without having any experience in the actuality of the situations they face every day. A review board probably should have one position for a community member but the board majority  should be comprised of active duty or retired officers that can evaluate the facts with empathy for all those concerned. If we want the police to think that they are appreciated and that the community has their back we must let them be the first to comment on their own issues.    On a secondary note, I saw the video of the NAACP rep addressing the council in a very inflammatory manner. You should call out inflammatory rhetoric for the poison that it is. The council needs to promote unity in our community, not divisiveness. I would hope  that the council will publicly convey that message to her , demonstrating your commitment to inclusiveness in Las Cruces, and a lack of tolerance for agitation by any group. Even with differing opinions we can work together peacefully for the good of our city.    Sincerely Jody Kincaid DVM ND

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