Sununu Tasks Panel With Offering Ideas On Police Accountability, Transparency | New Hampshire Public Radio

Sununu Tasks Panel With Offering Ideas On Police Accountability, Transparency

Jun 16, 2020

A sign on the fence in front of South Church in Portsmouth shows support for demonstrations for racial justice.
Credit Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu is pulling together a commission to look at police accountability and transparency in New Hampshire.

Sununu said he doesn't think New Hampshire is at what he termed a “crisis point” when it comes to police and community relations. But he wants the new commission to reexamine everything from police training to misconduct investigations and come back with recommendations within 45 days.

The goal, Sununu said, is to identify solutions that will enhance transparency.

“This is not an issue where we want long and drawn out study commissions, where we want long and length reports, which can have their value to be sure, but to be honest this is an issue where we need to act now,” Sununu said at a Concord press conference Tuesday.

The group is heavy on representation from law enforcement and includes representatives from the Department of Justice, the Department of Safety, the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council, the New Hampshire Police Association, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, and the state judiciary.

It also includes the head of the state Commission for Human Rights, the president of the Manchester NAACP, as well as representatives from the New Hampshire ACLU and the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Sununu did not initially include a representative from the local Black Lives Matter movement on the commission until he was asked about the omission at a press conference.

Afterwards, he called Ronelle Tshiela, one of the leaders of Black Lives Matter in Manchester, and invited her to join.

“I was super surprised, honestly," Tshiela said about the call from Sununu. "I think it’s great. I know a lot of people are confused, a lot of people have worries, but like we’ve been saying (the Black Lives Matter movement) is not a partisan thing; it’s a human rights thing.”