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Sacramento City Council Passes Ordinance Reforming Police Use Of Force Policy

SACRAMENTO (CBS) - The Sacramento city council unanimously passed an ordinance that reforms the police use of force policy and restructures a police oversight commission.

"This is a good first step," said Danielle Williams, an advocate for openness within police departments.

She says change is needed.

"You can look at us in comparison to other commissions and other police accountability systems, we are doing the bare minimum," said Williams.

On Tuesday, council votes to make the Community Police Commission 100% civilian-led. They also have more power to review complaints against the department and make policy recommendations. But Williams and other who spoke at the meeting say more can be done.

"Law enforcement is still taking the lead on investigating themselves and we've heard cries across the country that there needs to be an independent eye on that," said Williams.

She and others are calling for the commission to have subpoena, discipline, and investigative powers.

The city attorney said that's currently not legal under the city charter. The council would have to propose a change, or the community could petition for a ballot initiative in order to change the city charter.

The Sacramento Police Officers Association was not pleased with council's decision.

"People are rushing to make changes that may or may not even be needed," said Tim Davis, the SPOA president.

Davis says limiting law enforcement input can create an unbalanced commission.

"We're asking for a prohibition of activists from being on the commission too," said Davis.

Davis also expressed concerns about a key point of the police use of force policy which would require the release of video by 30 days.

"It just confuses things when the city as council members try to weigh into an area that they're not experts in," said Davis.

The changes passed in tonight's ordinance won't take effect until June 2017. In that time, Advocates say there is plenty of work to do.

"We have to continue to stay connected to the city Council and the mayor," said Richard Owen, "monitor it, staying engaged as citizens. That's the only real way to continue to improve relationships."

Read more about the ordinance

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