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BECK: Establishing Citizen Review Board is right call for Covington
Taylor Beck
Taylor Beck

Chief Stacey Cotton and the Covington Police Department sent a clear message to the community Monday night.

Though it isn’t official, it appears a Citizen Review Board will soon be created to hold the department accountable in its operation.

As you’ll find in this weekend’s edition of The News, the Covington City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment that would establish the board. A second and final reading is slated for the next meeting, April 5. 

The Citizen Review Board’s role will be reminiscent to that of an oversight committee, which includes reviewing internal investigations pertaining to cases and issues of interest to the community, and in turn, fostering transparency.

How did Cotton feel about this? Indignant? Offended? 

Nope. He was all in.

Now, to some of you, this may not make much sense. After all, why would the chief want a group basically hovering over his department and watching their every move? Aren’t they operating up to the right standards?

But it’s not about any of that.

It’s all about trust, and that was the message Cotton voiced to the community.

Despite have no history of major issues or controversies, Cotton agreed to the terms because he knows it will only help his department be better.

Remember this time last year? Protests of police brutality and calls for defunding police were running rampant across the nation. The image of police was not painted in a positive light before, and it seems to only have gotten worse over the past several months.

The relationship between police and the public is a damaged one but not beyond repair, and Cotton knows this. That’s why he and members of the city’s leadership were so willing to work with the Newton County Ministers Union and other community partners to get a review board in place. And I’m glad they did.

To echo Councilman Kenneth Morgan’s remarks, I believe this is a good start to rebuilding trust and, easily, the right thing to do. 

The Citizen Review Board will serve as an intercessor between the police department and community, which will only lead to the department’s improvement so they can better protect and serve the people and businesses of this great city.

I think it would be prudent of other communities, far and wide, to take note and consider taking similar actions.

Taylor Beck is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. He may be reached at