Civilian Oversight Board nominees discuss their qualifications, -

Civilian Oversight Board nominees discuss their qualifications, responsibilities

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

On Tuesday, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced the seven nominees for the St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board.

The seven candidates were approved by Mayor Slay after being selected from a pool of over 50 applicants and must receive the approval of the Board of Alderman.

The seven-member Civilian Oversight Board will investigate and review police misconduct complaints and officer-involved shootings.

"We are a diverse group, we are going to be able to work together, not always agree, but work together to resolve a lot of these issues," said Heather Highland, a defense attorney and District Six candidate.

As a defense attorney, Highland said she hears a lot from her clients about their feelings toward police.

"There is a lot of mistrust. I think people feel like the internal affairs division is kind of a private thing, police investigated by other police officers and people are afraid of retaliation if they complain," Highland said.

The youngest candidate for the board is 27-year-old Ciera Simril, nominee for District One, who works at US Bank and facilitates the Neighborhood Ownership Model.

"I feel like I'm the right person (for the Board) because I reflect our city right now. I'm young, I'm educated and the fact that I'm able to reach youth," Simril said.

Simril is also an activist who has participated in several protests and believes the Civilian Oversight Board is crucial.

"We are going to work to make sure the Police Department is prepared and that they are on their Ps and Qs for the city, because they work for us and they are supposed to protect us," said Simril.

The Board of Aldermen has until November 3 to approve or make any changes to the list of candidates. The Civilian Oversight Board is expected to be active by Spring 2016 after receiving extensive training.

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