News Local/State

UPDATE: Champaign Council Votes To Create Police Review Board.

Will Kyles

Champaign City Councilman Will Kyles, speaking in 2013. Kyles is a longtime proponent of establishing a citizen police review board in Champaign. (Sean Powers/WILL)

The Champaign City Council voted Tuesday evening to establish a citizens advisory committee to review Champaign Police Department complaint investigations.

The proposal creates a subcommittee of the Champaign Human Relations Commission. The five-member panel will advise the police chief on whether police complaint investigations follow proper procedure. That includes making sure investigations include all witnesses and evidence.

The subcommittee will have subpoena power as it acts as a second set of eyes for city Human Relations investigators.

At-Large City Council member Will Kyles has been pushing for a citizen police review panel for some time. Speaking prior to the Tuesday council vote, he called the proposal proposal a good “next step” in police/community relations.

“We want to be in a situation where we want to be proactive about our relationship with the police department and community and not necessarily reactive”, said Kyles.

Proposals to set up a citizens police review board have divided the Champaign City Council before. In 2007, the council rejected a police review board proposal, on a 5 to 4 vote. But council members have been more supportive of the concept in the past year. And at a July 10th study session, the Champaign City Council endorsed the concept unanimously, including councilman Tom Bruno and now-mayor Deb Feinen. Both of them had voted against the idea ten years ago.

“I didn’t see it as contentious, even when you went to the last council meeting, it wasn’t contentious, it was ‘Let’s move this forward and see what it looks like in the future,'” said Kyles.

Feinen will appoint the police review board's members.

UPDATE: This article was updated to show the result of Tuesday's Champaign City Council vote on the police review board composer. - JM 8-2-17