COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Springs City Council appointed 11 members and two alternates on Tuesday for the new Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission.
The council authorized the formation of the commission during an ordinance passed on July 14, tasking the appointees with the following: “To advise and recommend areas and topics of study related to police operations, best practices, and resource allocation, solicit public input, and promote improved relationships between the citizens and the Police Department.”
The process toward establishing the committee resulted from nationwide protests that started four months ago after the police custody death of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis.
More than 800 people applied to be on the commission.
There is at least one representative from each of the six Council districts. The appointed members are listed below.
Debra Walker: Walker is the executive director of the Citizens Project and serves on many boards and committees. She is a Founding Member and Chair of the Haiti Village Project and serves on CPSD’s Community Leaders Steering Committee as well as on the advisory board for the Center for Religious Diversity and Public Life at UCCS.
Brent Windebank: Windebank is a student at UCCS and a volleyball coach at Colorado Springs Christian High School. He also works as a grocery clerk. He worked previously in the City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department and has served on several boards and commissions.
Dr. Luis Velez: Velez served as Colorado Springs Police Chief and served 31 years on the force. He was also Pueblo Police Chief from 2011-2017. Velez also was the Dean of Criminal Justice at Colorado Technical University and served as Vice President of Education. He has served on the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board and has served on many boards and committees.
Rachael Flick: Flick has over twenty years of experience in leadership, human service and counseling. She currently owns her own counseling firm and also serves as a public speaker and author.
Terry Martinez: Martinez worked at several area schools during his 31-year career in education, serving as a principal, assistant principal and teacher. Martinez serves on the Judicial Review Commission for the 4th Judicial District and on the El Paso County Parks Advisory Board.
Justin Baker: One of the founders of the People 719 non-profit activism group, Baker helped write the initial proposal which formed the basis of the Commission. Baker works as a lumberjack.
Janice Frazier: Frazier chairs several organizations including Urbanites Leading the Pikes Peak Region, Colorado Alliance of Black School Educators and Diverse Coalition for Change-Oral Health. She has worked for Colorado Springs School District 11 for over 25 years and currently serves as D11’s human resources equity specialist.
Dennis Moore: Moore retired from a 20-year career as a program analyst in the Air Force in 1986 and spent 20 years in Federal Civil Service until 2007. He served on the Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee from 2014-2020. Moore has served on numerous boards and commissions in government.
Steve Kern: Kern retired from a 34-year teaching career in 2017. He taught for 23 years at Palmer High School and directed its International Baccalaureate diploma program for 15 years. Kern is currently an associate with Henjum Consulting Group and is a founding member of the Springs Philosophy Project.
Joe Aldaz: President & CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Aldaz also serves on the boards of the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC and Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado and is active on the Pikes Peak Community College Hispanic Advisory Council and Institute for Veterans and Military Families Diversity & Inclusion Council.
Kate Angulski: Assistant professor of Criminal Justice for the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Angulski is a published author with an extensive background in research in the areas of drug use and policy, criminal desistance and international / comparative criminal justice.
Rosita Camargo (District 4): Camargo has over 12 years of experience working with homeless youth and adults and previously served on the board of the National Latinx Coalition to end Homelessness.
Felicia Embry (District 5): Embry is the owner/operator of Thelma Lou’s Innersoul Food catering company and runs her own financial consulting firm.
Several council members offered words of support for the commission members before approving their selection in a unanimous vote.
"I want you to be data-driven and assume the best of the population," said Councilman Bill Murray. "Prove the people wrong who think you shouldn't be here."
A small group of protestors gathered outside City Hall before the vote, with some expressing dissatisfaction with the process.
"There are three candidates who seem like they're biased in their affiliation with the cops," said Eli Blackshear, a protest organizer. "It could be a complete paradox for what we're trying to accomplish."
However commission members like Rachael Flick, the widow of slain El Paso County Deputy Michah Flick, and former Colorado Springs and Pueblo Police Chief Luis Velez, deny having any bias and insist they will have open minds when the group begins meeting.
"I wanted to affirm to the community today that my voice isn't intended to be a token vote for law enforcement," Flick said. My goals are for the greater unity and healing of the community at large, and even the nation."
Velez insists that he can be a valuable member of the commission.
"My background brings experience to the table that others may need to hear about," he said. "By the same token, I think I'll be able to learn a great deal, myself."
Two members, Justin Baker and Brent Windebank, were involved in the Colorado Springs protests.
"(Being on the commission) means a lot, to be honest," Baker said. "I am the youngest member. It feels good to represent the young voices in the community."
The commission consists of seven men and six women and has a mix of races and cultures.
One of the alternates, Rosita Camargo, plans to be just as involved as a full member.
"I've had to have a conversation with my children as to what they'd do if they were ever approached by police," she said. "Now I can have a conversation with police about what to do if they ever approach my children. It's a responsibility that I take to heart."
The commission's scope will go beyond occasions of police using deadly or excessive force against citizens. The group said it will meet regularly and discuss a variety of issues, but specifics were unavailable Tuesday.
Commission members will serve terms of one, two or three years.
The council gave the commission a standing ovation after Tuesday's vote.