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The Concept of Oversight Review of Police Activities

Many nonpolice individuals and groups, by contrast, view effective civilian review as the only means of preventing excesses by police in the exercise of law enforcement.

Ultimately, the advocates of civilian review of police activities are on stronger legal and theoretical grounds than are the police who oppose civilian review. Legally, it is a tenet of the American political system that elected civilian officials hold authority over government organizations of any type. Thus, the elected president of the country is the commanderinchief of the national armed, uniformed military forces, and the civilian cabinet officer, the Attorney General, appointed by the elected president exercises a direct control over the national police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the federal level, the Armed Forces committies of the Senate and the House of Representatives act as civilian review boards for the activities of the armed forces. Similarly, congressional oversight committees are formed for the stated purposes of reviewing certain activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from time to time.

Ultimately, at whatever level of government is involved, the citizens of the juristiction may demand accountability from their government bodies. That accountability may take many forms. The civilian review of police activities is one of thos

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