LWVOC VP Michele Levy's letter about the Orange County Sheriff's Citizens Advisory Committee was the lead letter on today's Orlando Sentinel's editorial page.
Regarding the letter to the editor Saturday by Edward R. Hagler about the new Citizens Advisory Committee: His comments only fuel "the flames of racism," which he accused the new committee of fanning.
It replaced the old Citizen's Review Board, which was created in 1995 — with the support of the League of Women Voters — because of a culture of racism and police misconduct. In 2009, the Fifth District Court of Appeals abolished the board, stating it was unconstitutional and violated the civil rights of law-enforcement personnel.Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings could have let that stand, but he thought the citizens of Orange County deserved better. The nine-person board was unanimously approved by the Board of County Commissioners. The sheriff selected the chairman (who has one vote), while the mayor, the commissioners and the Police Benevolent Association picked the rest. Remember that this board has no teeth. All it can do is study policy and procedures and review cases and events.
The first case it will review is whether the policy of firing into a moving vehicle is appropriate. In this case, in which more than 100 rounds were fired into a car, the detective has already been exonerated by a panel of his peers. It's hard to believe Hagler is upset about this committee. Demings is an elected official, and his first responsibility is to Orange County citizens.
Michele Levy, Vice president, Orange County League of Women Voters