Champaign Residents Brainstorm Questions for Police Chief Candidates

December 06, 2011

A public forum is planned this week with the four candidates being considered to replace R.T. Finney, whose retirement as Champaign police chief becomes official in January. During a meeting Monday night at the Douglass Branch Library in Champaign, around 30 people participated in a discussion about issues that they felt the police chief candidates should address.

Champaign resident Artice James talked during the meeting about what it would take to make Champaign a safer community.

"The people need to be accountable for what happens in their community, and the police need to be accountable for their actions, and don't use for what they consider the blue code to protect the bad officers," James said.

Champaign resident Otis Noble III was there with his newborn son.

"You know, I always am encouraged by individuals getting a chance to kind of talk and get some of the things that they need off of their chests," Noble said. "So, in that vein, I believe there are some therapeutic qualities to what's happening this evening, but to be honest I think there's bigger steps to these conversations that I think are necessary."

The topic of police-community relations dominated discussions at the meeting. Some of the people who were there said police officers should be required to live within the city, while others touted a proposal to create a citizens police review board in the wake of the 2009 police shooting death of teenager, Kiwane Carrington and the recent arrests of two African American youth.

Comments from the meeting will be given to members of a subcommittee of the police chief search committee, who will come up with a final list of questions for the police chief candidates.

The finalists for the job will each address the public during a televised meeting Thursday at 7:00pm in the Champaign City Council chambers.

Story source: WILL