Urbana Police revise policy to reduce structural biases and build trust with community

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – Urbana Police Chief Bryant Seraphin is going to present the police department’s revised “Use of Force” policy to the Urbana City Council on August 23.

“The Use of Force policy revision reflects the City’s commitment to the NAACP’s Ten Shared Principles of community policing and prioritizes de-escalation during encounters with the public. It also reflects many comments and suggestions received from the Urbana City Council and through public engagement over the past ten months and aligns with the Illinois General Assembly’s recently passed police reform legislation,” Seraphin said. 

The UPD and Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin’s office have been working very closely with local community organizations, such as NAACP and ACLU, to revise the policy.

President of NAACP of Champaign County Minnie Pearson and Director of Communications of ACLU of Champaign County Carol Spindel said, “as partners, we all endorse the values we want to see in good community policing, which includes working in alliance to address community concerns. The partnership brought about constructive changes in our local police policies and practices. This collective effort was done with needed emphasis on building trust through procedural justice, accountability and transparency. Much of our work was also to make sure that the Use of Force policy supported and reflected the expectations of the NAACP’s 10 Shared Principles. We put a lot of thought and effort into ways to dismantle structural biases, promote community safety, and build mutual trust between the police and the Black community, by treating everyone with dignity and respect.”

Chief Seraphin emphasizes the fact that the “Use of Force” policy revision is an effort to increase public safety and well-being in Urbana. He also said a member of the public will be picked to serve on UPD’s internal Use of Force Review committee.

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