As community demonstrations locally and across the nation in response to the senseless death of George Floyd shine a light on the need for continued discussions about race and community policing, the City of Champaign has received numerous inquiries from the public about the policies, accountability, and training requirements of the Champaign Police Department. The City thanks those who are sharing their questions and concerns with us as we recognize that the only way to move forward and implement positive and meaningful change is by making sure that our City government and its police department are actively engaged with the community.
To address many of the questions that members of the public have been asking regarding police department policies, practices, and procedures, the City has created a new web page (champaignil.gov/PoliceFAQ) as a central location to make detailed information readily accessible to the public about the department’s 21st century policing practices. The information on this web page will continue to be expanded in the days and weeks ahead in response to public inquiries about this very important subject.
“Through the guidance and direction of the City Council, the City of Champaign has taken a number of steps over the last several years to improve community policing, transparency, and accountability” said City Manager Dorothy Ann David. “This could not have happened if community members were not willing to stay engaged with our City and push us toward a greater understanding of the challenges of racial inequity in our community. We have implemented a requirement that all officers wear body cameras, our police participate in the Community Coalition, residents are represented on the Police Chief’s Use of Force Review Committee, and a new Citizen Review Subcommittee of the Human Relations Commission was created to review citizen police complaints. I am very proud of how hard this City has worked to listen to our residents and partner together to make positive change in community policing and racial justice. I am grateful for the leadership of Police Chief Anthony Cobb and the commitment of the men and women of the Champaign Police Department to protect our community, including assuring that people can safely and freely exercise their civil rights. We have much more work to do as a community and a country but I believe that by working together we can make a difference.”
Residents interested in getting involved are encouraged to join the Champaign County Community Coalition, which holds regular meetings and discussions about tough topics like race, inequality, and community-police relations. The Coalition’s next meeting is Wednesday, June 10 at 3:30 pm. Information on how to participate in this virtual meeting is available on the Coalition’s website (champaigncommunitycoalition.org) or can be obtained by calling the City’s Office of Equity, Community and Human Rights at 217-403-8830.