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Citizens push for Dallas police oversight board meetings to resume

City manager T.C. Broadnax says he will provide update restarting various advisory boards 'in the very near future'.

DALLAS — Residents on Wednesday urged Dallas city manager T.C. Broadnax to amend a city order that will allow the police oversight board to resume meetings virtually.

The 15-person oversight board hasn't met since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Several public speakers addressed the council via conference call at the outset of a more than 10-hour meeting on Wednesday.

Jesuorobo Enobakhare, chair of the Community Police Oversight Board, told WFAA he is working with Broadnax to try and get the language of a city order changed.

"We need the board to meet as soon as possible," Enobakhare said. 

The 15-member board last met in March before all city meetings aside from COVID-19 committees. Committees, including public safety and economic development, resumed in May.

The oversight board reviews complaints on actions of Dallas police officers that the Office of Community Police Oversight receives from the public.

That office, headed up by the newly hired director, Tonya McClary, has remained open during the pandemic receiving complaints from citizens.

"Even though this board is considered advisory, this is a very unique board," McClary said. "Policing doesn’t stop during a pandemic, right?  In fact, things are happening."

McClary was hired from New Orleans, where she worked as a police monitor, and started on Feb. 24.  McClary attended one meeting of the CPOB in March before the novel coronavirus ended in-person meetings.

“Even though my office has been functioning the entire time, we were meant to be a team," McClary said. "We need both parts of this team functioning.”

Late Wednesday, Broadnax told WFAA he would provide an update to residents and city council on restarting various advisory boards "in the very near future."

"The Citizen Police Oversight Board and other advisory boards play a critical role to the community," Broadnax said. "I am in the process of working with staff from my office, who will need to provide the administrative and technical support for various advisory boards that would also like to meet virtually."

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