Champaign okays citizen review board

October 20, 2017 by  

Deb Feinen, the mayor of Champaign, recently selected five citizens to form a review board to study investigations conducted by the Champaign Police Department into allegations made against the department.

This odd situation, in which an agency investigates itself, has led to questions and concerns about the process. The city council unanimously approved the creation of the review board, which will operate under the purview of Champaign’s Human Relations Commission.

The five appointees are Demario Turner, Melissa Keeble, Mike Ingram, Alexandra Harmon-Threatt, and Emily Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Illinois, says she thinks the first order of business is to start building trust between the community and its police force, and to forge a good working relationship in which both sides listen to each other.

The city council approved the creation of the review board in August, citing the need to increase trust and cooperation between the police and city residents as a priority for the new committee. The group will work by examining complaints by residents against the police to determine if the official review by investigators of the CPD was thorough and proper. Anthony Cobb, the police chief, will have the final decision.

Measures like this have an impact on a whole community, which can benefit if officials work with a flyer printing company to create a mailer, explaining the new policies.