BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — The MLK Community Initiative and the Bakersfield Community Coalition are asking for the City of Bakersfield and Kern County to create a Community Police Advisory Review Board.
"There is very little trust and the community is watching," said Isaiah Crompton, MLK Community Initiative activist.
The goal of the board is to create more transparency between officers and the community.
Traco Matthews, a member of the Bakersfield Unity Coalition, says the long-forgotten idea was reignited by the death of George Floyd, and the protest around the country and in Bakersfield.
"Some of the recent events George Floyd and some I just heard of Elijah McClain, there are just so many stories," said Matthews. " It is critical that we act now and if we don't we may lose the momentum, an opportunity to actually get some real tangible change."
According to Crompton, he and other community leaders have been trying to form this advisory board for 15 years. Now, they feel there is a greater chance.
"We are just asking for an advisory committee to be able to look at some of the cases that we have here in Kern County and get a fair assessment of what's going on in our community," Crompton said.
Right now, the MLK Community Initiative has a petition for the board with over 200 online signatures, 100 hard copy signatures of residents.
"We have to keep the pressure on and keep pushing forward and we can't lose momentum and the time of urgency is now."
According to Matthews and Crompton, the two groups have made their request known to both BPD and KCSO, during their community zoom panel discussions.