Tampa PD seeks public’s input following DOJ probe

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Changes are coming to the Tampa Police Department after the Department of Justice looked into the way it handed out bike citations.

Now Tampa police leaders are asking for the public’s input. When the DOJ found Tampa police were giving out a disproportionate number of bike tickets to African-Americans, the chief promised changes.

Today Chief Eric Ward appeared before the Tampa city council and said, “some of the things we have already addressed moving forward.”

The DOJ came up with 20 recommendations for the department to act on. Council members suggested the newly formed civilian review board should also have some input on the changes.

Councilman Harry Cohen said, “The point is we have them, they are a resource, they are available and we appointed them and they ought to be included in the process.”

The Chief also told the council he wants to hold several community forums around the city.

Chief Ward added, “We want to have input from everyone involved in the process and if we are doing something the public may not be pleased with that’s a perfect opportunity for them to air their opinion.”

Councilman Frank Reddick welcomes that openness.

“You have got to have the real people and those are those people who have been ticketed by the police department and he has to give them a voice, let them express their voices and I think if he does that these forums will be successful,” he said.

The Tampa Police Chief wants the citizens review board to meet on the issue within the next 30 days. In the meantime, the department is trying to find locations around the city to hold those community forums.

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