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June 16, 2021

Poll finds that this widespread support for strengthening the Citizen Review Board extends across multiple demographics of Tampa Voters

TAMPA, FL – A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that Tampa voters strongly support strengthening the Tampa Citizen Review Board to ensure independent review of police misconduct allegations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida released results today from a survey that revealed that 76 percent of voters agree that a single person should not have the ability to appoint most of the members of the Citizen Review Board, and 74 percent agree the Board should have subpoena power.

“The data released today proves that Tampa voters agree that strengthening the Citizen Review Board benefits everyone in our community,” said David Simanoff, president of the Greater Tampa Chapter of the ACLU of Florida. “The community has witnessed the harms that can come from unchecked police power, from the Bicycling while Black controversy to the heavy-handed response to protesters’ call for police reform. We have the opportunity to enhance Tampa residents’ trust in police through a fair, independent Citizen Review Board.”

The poll also revealed:

  • 68 percent agree that the Citizen Review Board should have independent counsel so that board members do not have to rely on legal guidance from city employees.
  • 82 percent of voters agree that if the City Council and the Mayor cannot decide whether to give the Citizen Review Board subpoena power and independent counsel, then Tampa residents should have a chance to vote on the issue.
  • 85 percent of women and 80 percent of men agree that residents should vote on the issue of giving the Board subpoena power and independent counsel.
  • 85 percent of Independent voters believe that a single person should not appoint most of the members of the Citizen Review Board. 78 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans also agree.

The survey’s findings come months after the Tampa community urged the Tampa City Council to strengthen the Citizen Review Board, which investigates complaints of police misconduct, following the murders of Black people at the hands of police, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks. The Tampa City Council will vote on reforms that could strengthen the Board on June 17, including changes to the appointment of board members. Currently, the majority of appointments are done by the Mayor. Change to a majority City Council appointment structure and less to the Mayor will help to ensure fairness and independence.

“The people are clear: The Citizens Review Board needs the independence and tools to be accountable to the community,” Robin Lockett, Tampa Bay regional director for Florida Rising. “We call upon the Mayor and City Council to empower the board to be truly effective and accountable to the community.”

The poll’s findings can be found here: