Citizen Police Review Board Question on City of Champaign Town Meeting Agenda
A Champaign resident says citizens haven't been given the full opportunity to weigh in on the debate over a police review board in the city. So Wayne Williams has submitted a proposal to put an advisory referendum on the November ballot in Champaign, asking voters if they favor a citizens police review board. William's proposal is on the agenda at the April 13th City of Champaign annual town meeting, where voters in attendance will decide whether it gets on the ballot.
"Police officers are employees of the citizens of the city", says Williams. "And I believe that having a review board just gives individual citizens --- or the citizens at large --- more control over the government."
The fatal shooting last October of teenager Kiwane Carrington during a scuffle with a Champaign police office led to renewed calls for a citizens police review board in the city. But Williams says he favored the concept before the shooting.
The city of Urbana has a citizen police review board, as does Danville... but Champaign City Council members turned down the idea of having their own three years ago on a 5-to-4 vote.
Williams says a police review board is not intended to be anti-police. He compares his proposal to police department's use of dashboard cameras... and notes they've proven useful after some officers were initially against the idea.
Another proposal from Williams on the annual town meeting agenda in Champaign concerns health care reform. Williams admits when he filed paperwork for that proposal, he didn't believe health care overhaul legislation would be passed by Congress and signed by the president. But Williams says he still may push for that referendum just to gauge citizen support for the reform package.
Williams is a Democratic precinct committeeman in Champaign, who was recently appointed to the Champaign County Board of Review. He's run unsuccessfully for the Champaign County Board and City of Champaign Township Assessor.
Townships across Illinois will hold their annual town meetings on Tuesday, April 13th. The annual town meeting for the City of Champaign Township begins at 6:55 PM in the council chamber of the Champaign City Building.