SPRINGFIELD (AP) - A debate is on in Springfield on whether to restore a five-member Police Commission to oversee the police department.

Proponents of reviving the commission said at a meeting Thursday that such a panel would lead to greater accountability and more public trust in the department.

Six councilors have proposed bringing the commission back. The panel would have the power to set department policy, hire and promote officers and discipline officers. The commission was dissolved in 2006 by a state-appointed board that oversaw city finances. It was replaced by a single commissioner.

Opponents of a commission, including current Commissioner William Fitchet, say the city already has a citizens' advisory board that hears residents' complaints and provides disciplinary recommendations. Fitchet says he follows that board's recommendations 100 percent of the time.


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