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Colorado Springs City Council approves police accountability board on second reading

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- After another vote by the Colorado Springs City Council, the police accountability board is moving forward.

The council unanimously voted in favor of the board during a second reading Tuesday. Last month, the council approved the board on its first reading and laid the groundwork for its goals.

"We're excited to work with (the) council to start getting the ball rolling, and for us to sit down and get the committee all formulated with the members," said Robbie Johnson, an organizer for the the protest group The People 719.

The citizens advisory committee will be tasked with bringing policy recommendations to City Council, the Mayor and the Colorado Springs Police Department, as well as review uses of force by officers.

The Council announced it's taking applications for volunteers to serve on the committee, after deciding it would allow council members to appoint people.

More than 800 people have applied so far.

"We hope to have the list narrowed down to 60 by the end of this month, and at least have six (of 11) members by the end of August," said Councilman David Geislinger. "That's an aggressive timeline. Fortunately, we talked with the advocates for this ordinance that we just passed, and they recognize it's going to take time to go through that many applicants."

This final vote comes in response to weeks of protests in the Springs calling for increased transparency and accountability in CSPD, further motivated by the May police-related death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Many protesters referenced the shooting of De'Von Bailey in Colorado Springs last August as part of a trend of deadly force being used by officers.

City leaders said they've had multiple discussions with protest leaders about what should be done and they've been impressed with the conversations they've had.

The ordinance calls for 11 members with diverse racial and economic backgrounds who will serve a maximum of two- to three-year terms. It states the board will serve "to share the concerns and needs of both citizens and the police department," and "provide feedback to the Council with policy recommendations.

The vote on Tuesday was 8-0 in favor, with Councilman Don Knight absent.

Councilwoman Yolanda Avila, who cast the lone dissenting vote at the first reading, changed her mind and voted for the ordinance Tuesday. She said she's disappointed the committee won't have the power to make real change, and worries that it won't be diverse enough.

"So it's with a heavy heart, that I want to show that I want to move forward, that I'm doing it for you all who have been here protesting for weeks," she said. "I hope this council and mayor, and future councils and mayors, don't let you down."

But Renee Alexander, another organizer for The People 719, is more optimistic.

"This is just our foot in the door," she said. "A lot of times, we don't even get that foot in the door.  So how do we make this turn into multiple situations of social change, and not just one?"

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Andrew McMillan

Andrew is the Digital Content Director for KRDO.com. Learn more about Andrew here.

Comments

4 Comments

  1. Approval of a board of police hating people who have no idea of what daily life is like for police on the streets is a gutless decision by the city council. They have been led by American hating Marxist democrap protesters who want no police.
    ….
    With the career as a police officer having already been made one of the worst, more dangerous jobs in America, police will be leaving the force and new recruits will be hard to find.
    ….
    When there is a law enforcement vacuum created by a lack of police people will be filling that vacuum. What then city council, did you think of that, did you think??

  2. Well what is news-worthy would be describing the following aspects of this boards powers.
    #1. Who is screening out applicants for the Board.
    #2. This board currently sounds like it is only making recommendations to the City Council, the Mayor, and CSPD; Recommendations can be ignored. What Checks and balances ensure the will of this board, is heard and implemented. The sole purpose of creating this board it to make changes, not add an additional layer of personnel to be ignored by City Administration, especially under the mayoral system currently in place here.
    #3. KRDO please release the full Ordinance that has been adopted by the City, for full disclosure and discussion.
    #4. What are the roles of the board.
    #5. Will there be potential repercussions this board can utilize to bring to the 4th Judicial District or City Municipal courts in when the recommendations are not adhered to?
    #6. If it is merely a board making recommendations, how is this any more effective and efficient than the neighborhood watch programs that are already in place, especially if the city council, the mayor, and CSPD ultimately still have the final say in the final course of action.
    #7. What will the checks and balances be for this board if someone on the board is clearly anti-law enforcement under all complaints brought to the board. How will the people in charge remedy this issue.
    #8. Who / What division of city government is ultimately in charge of the board.
    #9. What does having this board accomplish that was not in place before its inception. How will these changes be implemented and how can we verify that the city government will not merely look at the best interest of the city and their departments. Rather than simply blaming the single LEO involved in the case, will you look a the real problems related to the lack of training, the lack of adequate law enforcement for the city, and other extenuating circumstances that was caused by the agency not the solo LEO. Items like Battle fatigue, being required to work a night shift, to have court during the day and then having to come back and work another night shift with no significant rest period in-between. It is well-documented that personnel are not as sharp-witted and able to make solid decisions when these conditions exist, yet the agency still makes these officers pull a shift.
    #10. Will this panel be shown how much stress these officers go through. if so, will they be able to make recommendations to the city council, the mayor, and CSPD to provide adequate protection and mental rehabilitation for officers that need counseling based on the negative impact all LEO’s endure. Not something like what is in place where they are placed upon administrative leave without pay. No officer currently wants the help, merely because of the same reasons most households wouldn’t, We all need a paycheck to survive. They need something better than being placed with making the decision seek proper counseling but lose my paycheck, or keep my paycheck and not receive proper counseling. This is a double-edged sword and while it remains ignored, we cannot make a proper step forward. Considering that the personnel that will review what the board’s recommendations are have been what has led us to this locations already, How will this board effect change under these conditions. How is this not just a smokescreen.

    1. After seeing all of the questions I have, I have a better sense of understanding why Councilwoman Yolanda Avila was against this from the first reading. No wonder Councilman Avila stated, “So it’s with a heavy heart, that I want to show that I want to move forward, that I’m doing it for you all who have been here protesting for weeks,” she said. “I hope this council and mayor, and future councils and mayors, don’t let you down.”
      Not attempting to put words in her mouth but I believe even she sees the potential negative outcome once this gets going.
      If it walks like a smokescreen, and talks like a smokescreen, and looks like a smokescreen, then it must be a…

  3. I can tell you this is stupid and I feel less safe. And for these people to bring up Bradley who was a pedophile and had a gun in his pants when he got killed. Ridiculous. criminals need to learn to do what they’re told when it’s time to go to jail.

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