Cheyenne Police Department Announces Force Review Board
The Cheyenne Police Department on Thursday morning announced the formation of a Force Review Board, which will include three citizens as well as members of the CPD.
According to Police Chief Brian Kozak, the board will review what is considered as level I, II, and Level three uses of force, as well as 10 percent of level I use of force.
According to the chief, lI uses of force are situations that cause injury or can be expected to cause injury, as well as complaints about alleged injuries inflicted by police officers. Level III use of force are situations that cause serious injury, hospitalizations or death. Level I uses of force could include such things as aiming a weapon at someone, the use of pepper spray or holds to subdue a suspect.
The three citizen members of the board are:
-Stephen Latham, a Cheyenne native, and local pastor.. Latham is also the Branch President of the Cheyenne Chapter of the NAACP.
--Mike Solis, who moved to Cheyenne in 2014 to manage a hotel. Solis has earned awards for generating revenue in the hotel industry.
-Melvin Turner Jr. Turner is retired from the U.S. Air Force and has also served as an administrator with the VA Healthcare system.
The three civilian members of the board will rotate on a monthly basis as a voting member of the board.
The board will also include three Cheyenne Police Officers. Officer Greg Hutchinson was elected to serve on the board by his peers at the CPD. Sergeant James Peterson and Captain Jared Keslar.
Chief Kozak says the board will make recommendations on the situations it reviews. those recommendations could include anything from recommending no action at all to a commendation for the officer(s) involved, to possible criminal charges against an officer. Changes in procedures and/or training are also possible recommendations.
The police chief will make the final call on any course of action, but Kozak says he would be very likely to follow whatever recommendations the board makes.
.The chief also said that the CPD began planning for the board over a year ago, well before the George Floyd killing by police officers in Minnesota and similar incidents that have brought the .use of force by police officers to the forefront.
Kozak also said the Cheyenne Police Force Review Board is the first such board in Wyoming that has citizens review the use of force by police officers.
You can hear Chief Kozak's announcement of the board and discussion of it in the audio file below.