Champaign Council Approves New Complaint Process for Police Conduct

June 23, 2010

The city of Champaign is instituting changes to its Police Complaint Process --- in the wake of last fall's police shooting of teen-ager Kiwane Carrington.

The revamped complaint process is meant to be simpler and less intimidating, with a PR campaign to tell the public how it works. But all complaints will still be reviewed by the police department --- with appeals going to the city manager. At Tuesday night's city council study session, about a dozen Champaign and Urbana residents said the council should consider a citizens review board or other outside body to hear appeals. Councilman Will Kyles agreed.

"I support what has been brought forth, but I know that an outside voice has to look into these things" said Kyles. "It just has to be or we will continue to have these conversations over the next few years."

Councilman Tom Bruno remains cool to the idea --- he says those who spoke in favor of a Citizens Review Board are in the minority citywide.

"I frankly don't hear a preponderance of the citizens of Champaign asking for one", says Bruno.

City Manager Steve Carter says one new part of the police complaint process will allow residents to opt for working things out with a professional mediator, bypassing the formal complaint process.

"What they really want is to seek some fairness to the resolution, which involves a face-to-face discussion with the officer" says Carter, "so that they can express their feelings at about what happened, and their concern. And then also hear back from the officer about why the officer did what he did or she did,and just arrive at an understanding and just an ability to talk through that."

The mediation option was singled out for praise by several council members, and by several members of the public who criticized the city for not including a Citizens Review Board as part of the complaint process.

Council members voted unanimously to endorse the new Police Complaint process during the study session. No further action is needed

Story source: AP