Local leaders prepare for community coalition meeting

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County Community Coalition will be meeting Wednesday afternoon to talk about ways to promote positive change with regards to both police-community and race relations.

Multiple people are expected to speak at the meeting, including Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen, Urbana Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin, University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones, NAACP Champaign County President Minnie Pearson, Paign to Peace’s organizers and local police chiefs.

In the midst of national calls for police reforms, Feinen says this will be a chance to reflect on what’s working and what can be improved within the city.

The mayor notes this is the time of the year that the Use of Force Review Committee, which includes both officers and citizens, prepares its annual report.

“I think they have been working well,” she says. “I think they have raised issues for us to think about as a council, and certainly for the chief and his officers to think about, but there’s always room for improvement. We never believe at the City of Champaign that we’re the smartest one or we’ve got the only way to do things. I think that over the course of the next few months, there are going to be emerging best practices from cities all over the nation, and there will be opportunities for all of us to learn from each other.” 

Feinen says she also expects the city council to hold a study session to talk about the issues, calling it another opportunity for community members to have input.

Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb spent Tuesday meeting with community leaders and groups to talk about the best path going forward.

“We remain committed to listening, learning and working alongside the community to help foster positive, meaningful and necessary change,” CPD says in a statement.

The department is encouraging people to attend the coalition meeting, calling it an important forum to address change and progress.

Pearson is also expected to present national recommendations from the NAACP at the meeting.

The meeting will be conducted virtually in accordance with COVID-19 regulations. Click here for a list of ways to watch and participate in the meeting.

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