CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The national uproar about police “use of force” policies has caused Champaign police to change their own.
The revisions were presented to city council Tuesday night, along with ways they plan to improve how they interact with people.
In May, after George Floyd of Minneapolis was killed by police, protesters demanded an immediate review of “use of force” polices within police departments. Deputy Chief Tod Myers said, “Champaign P.D. reviewed our policy in June of 2020 with the revised policy becoming effective July 10th.”
Police Chief Anthony Cobb says they needed to establish firmer guidelines of their policy in three areas. “In June of this year the Champaign Police Department’s “use of force” policy was revised to include deescalation, an explicit ban on choke holds, and the duty for all officers to intervene in an unlawful use of force.”
On Tuesday night, CPD met with city council to publicly present the revised policy and initiate new ideas on how to improve how they interact with people in the community they serve. The presentation outlined the work that has been done in the past to improve police conduct, and highlighted work that still needs to be done into the future to ensure that police are fulfilling their job to protect and serve people.
Chief Cobb said, “There have been several protests in our community and several people who have expressed concern. We want to make sure they have a seat at the table and an opportunity to share what their concerns are so that we can roll our sleeves up and start to address concerns and issues to find solutions.”
Starting in August, CPD will hold a series of town halls between police and people who live in Champaign who want to give their input on the department’s policies and practices. That will continue until November. Chief Cobb will also establish a “Chief’s Advisory Committee” that will be made up of a variety of people from different organizations both in and outside of the police department. Its purpose is to maintain progress and ensure accountability of the officers.
There will be a city council study session to review the results of the community engagement meetings after they finish in November. They plan to go over all of the information that was collected and decide what to do with people’s input.