ROCKLAND — The Ad Hoc Rockland Police Review Committee may seek an extension on its 12-month timeline to offer recommendations.

After 11 months, the committee has reached consensuses on few items other than the need for the city to hire mental health professionals for the police department.

At its latest meeting Monday afternoon, July 25, the committee focused much of the meeting on whether a citizen review committee should be created to respond to complaints from the public.

The Council voted July 12, 2021, to create the ad-hoc police review committee to investigate ways to improve community policing in Rockland and report those recommendations to the City Council. The work was expected to take 12 months to complete, but the committee could ask for additional time.

The Committee was formed less than a year after a petition was filed with the Rockland City Council in August 2020 by a group calling for reallocating money from police to social services. That petition gathered 135 local signatures. Supporters of the department collected more signatures in response to the original petition.

At the July 25 meeting, the discussion centered largely on the need for the city to create a citizen committee to review complaints from the public about interactions with police. Currently, complaints can be filed with the chief or the city manager.

Committee member Joseph Steinberger, an attorney and former City Councilor, said there should be an alternative to having to go to the police if your concern is about the police. He said people without status and without money are treated differently than people who drive Mercedes.

Committee member Angela McIntyre said she also supported a citizen review committee.

Committee member Brian Messing said a citizen committee may or may not have experience in police procedures. He said the current system protects officers from frivolous complaints or those seeking retribution for being charged with a crime.

Committee member Emily Emmott questioned whether if Rockland were only one of two communities in Maine to have a citizen review committee (Portland is the other) would it hamper the ability of Rockland to attract officers.

Police Chief Tim Carroll attended the July 25 meeting. He told committee members the Maine Criminal Justice Academy outlines procedures for handling citizen complaints which Rockland follows.

Rockland equipped its officers in November 2021 with body cameras.

The Committee meets every other Monday via Zoom.