Providence’s Community Safety Act, under new name, has protections for police – News – providencejournal.com

The ordinance has also been renamed the the “Providence Community-Police Relations Act” instead of the “Community Safety Act.”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A controversial proposal that will place stricter standards on the way Providence police officers interact with the community is headed back to the City Council with a handful of changes, including a provision intended to better protect the police from lawsuits.

The council’s Ordinance Committee officially accepted a report Tuesday from a working group charged with addressing criticisms from law enforcement that unexpectedly prevented its passage in April. The City Council is expected to take a final vote on the amended ordinance Thursday.

Among the changes resulting from the working group’s five meetings is the addition of language stating that anyone who believes an officer has violated the ordinance can file a lawsuit against the officer, but only if the officer’s behavior was “knowing and willful.” The previous version of the ordinance did not say that violations must be knowing and willful.

Councilman Terrence Hassett, who chairs the Ordinance Committee, said most of the changes were not substantive and dealt with small tweaks to language that in no way diminished the strength of the ordinance.

The proposal seeks to prohibit racial profiling and formalize the city’s stance that it will not get involved in immigration issues. The ordinance also deals with the types of reports the police must file after encounters with the public. It expands the duties of the city’s Police External Review Board and enables people listed in the police department’s gang database to contest their listing there, under policies to be developed by the department. None of those tenets were changed by the working group.

One example of a language change: The ordinance has been renamed the “Providence Community-Police Relations Act” instead of the…

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