Members of the city’s Police Review and Advisory Board on Thursday night voted to launch their own investigation of three complaints that were filed in response to the controversial arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. But without the official leadership of the civilian group — having been without an executive director for more than nine months — board members say their work could reach a roadblock.

Members of the city’s Police Review and Advisory Board on Thursday night voted to launch their own investigation of three complaints that were filed in response to the controversial arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.


But without the official leadership of the civilian group — having been without an executive director for more than nine months — board members say their work could reach a roadblock.


“The only hindrance on this progress is that we need resources to do our job,” said Police Review and Advisory Board member Richard Peters about the city’s mismanagement and lack of communication. “It’s been disturbing to the board.”


Board members are also scratching their heads about not being included in the police review panel assembled by City Manager Bob Healy and Police Commissioner Robert Haas, consisting of 12 professionals from across the country and led by Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum.


“We were told we would be part of the panel,” Police Review and Advisory Board investigator Joe Johnson said about a past conversation with Healy.


Since the July 16 arrest, when Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley charged Gates with disorderly conduct and caused a national debate about race, class and police accountability, many residents and activists first looked to the board to initiate their investigation rights.


Johnson said they originally received one complaint against the case, filed by the Anti-Violence Project of Massachusetts, but two civilian complaints followed.


Police Review Advisory Board chairman Martin Betts said he was not comfortable releasing the names of those who filed complaints. No complaints were filed by Gates or Crowley, Johnson said.


If any violations are determined after the boards’ investigations, they will make a recommendation to City Manager Bob Healy and Police Commissioner Robert Haas as to what action, if any, should be taken.


The Police Review and Advisory Board, created by city ordinance, consists of five civilian residents, and “acts as the representative of the community in reviewing policies, practices, and procedures of the police department.” according to the Web site.


In August, the position of a Human Rights Commission Executive Director/Police Review and Advisory Board Executive Secretary was posted, months after Quoc Tran stopped his services as director.


A total of 84 people sent in resumes for the job, listed with a salary of $68,500 to $82,500. Duties and responsibilities for the combined position include serving as the city’s chief civil rights officer and the daily administrator of the Police Review and Advisory Board activities and investigations.


Peters said he hopes that while the city whittles down the applicants, an interim position can be filled to aid the board in their future investigations.


In the meantime, board members are sending a letter to Healy, looking for the timeline, process, and their involvement in filling the position permanently.


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