TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A new Community Advisory Review Board within the Pima County Sheriff’s Department is seeking to create a positive wave of change.
Dr. Damond Holt has been appointed as the Chair of the new board.
He says this board is about making real reform, not just about bringing talking points to the table.
“A year ago I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d be doing this,” he told KGUN9.
He is a local pastor and activist, and now the first chair of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department community advisory review board.
“This is a great opportunity for us to not sit around and wait what Congress and Senate is going to do, but taking our destiny in our own hands as a county and community,” he added.
Dr. Holt says, in collaboration with Sheriff Nanos, the board will be able to look at discipline among deputies, deputy involved shootings, county jail reform, and recruiting.
“We want to be also having a say on what does that look like in terms of equity and diversity for deputies. And I’m proud to announce that we also will be involved with training. Not just training as far as advisory and reviewing, but the Sheriff made it clear that he wants members of this board to go to the academy,” he said.
As far as who will be on the board, Dr. Holt says he wants it to represent the community.
“I want to make sure there is a lot of equity, and diversity and inclusion. That every part of the community is being represented as far as age, gender, race, sexual orientation,” he told KGUN9.
So in a sense, he feels like this board has a huge responsibility: to be the watchdog and hold the department accountable.
One of their first goals is getting deputies body-cameras.
“And not just get body-cams but be properly trained on how to use those body-cams which is the question right now. Because a lot of officers are getting body-cams but they’re not turning them on,” said Dr. Holt.
Here are some of the board’s other priorities:
“Number one, the community is highly represented. Number two, we want to make sure the voiceless have a voice. We want to make sure that law enforcement treats everyone exactly the same and what zip code you live in, what social-economic level you live in in this community, and the color of your skin or the color of your hair should not matter,” he added.
While Dr. Holt says the change this board brings will take time, he assures it will come.
“This is going to be a long term fix. It’s going to take the whole village to come together to work with law enforcement officials to make our place a better place than how we found it,” he added.
For more information on how you can participate on the board, email Dr. Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org