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Year Later, Some Want More Distance Between Civilian Board and Police

Mary Cullen
Bloomington Public Safety and Community Relations Board Chairman Arthur Taylor and member Sally Rudolph at the board's quarterly meeting Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

Bloomington residents voiced concerns to the city’s Public Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB) at its quarterly meeting Wednesday, saying a lack of complaints points to too much police involvement.

The PSCRB is charged with educating the community about citizen complaints involving the Bloomington Police Department (BPD), as well as reviewing cases where a complainant was not satisifed with BPD's handling of their complaint.

The group was formed in July 2017. Since then, it has not received a single complaint.

“We’re happy (about) the fact that we don’t have any complaints, but we are here for the general public in case that there ever are,”  PSCRB Chairman Arthur Taylor said.

Comments at Wednesday's meeting show some residents think it’s time to take the training wheels off and distance the PSCRB from the police.

BPD helped establish the board. Just shy of a year later, Police Chief Clay Wheeler is listed as the only contact on the board’s webpage. Those offering public comment pointed to this as a reason why residents are discouraged from filing complaints.

Taylor said the board is still in its early stages.

“Part of our charge is to help educate the public that we are here, that the PSCRB is available to help review any complaints,” Taylor said. “And we have posters and brochures that have been spread throughout the community to help educate the public.”

The board also would not comment on Mayor Tari Renner’s request to include the PSCRB in the distribution of possible new policies and procedures for police interactions with federal immigration agents. Local residents and advocacy group members did, however, voice the need for community conversations before any permanent action is taken.

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