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Bloomington Police Board To Consider Adding Youth Members

PSCRB members and city staff
City of Bloomington
Bloomington Public Safety and Community Relations Board members and city staff at a recent meeting, conducted via Zoom.

Bloomington’s police advisory board will consider whether to endorse the addition of up to two youth members to its ranks.

The idea came up during public comment at last week’s Bloomington Public Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB). It was pitched by former Bloomington City Council member Karen Schmidt and Geary Moore, a member of the Not In Our School steering committee.

Moore noted that current PSCRB members are generally in their 30s or older, with no teenagers or people in their 20s represented.

“The PSCRB lacks and is missing an entire segment from the population,” he said, noting the prominent role of young people in Bloomington-Normal demonstrations against racism and police brutality in the weeks since George Floyd’s death.

“Adding youth membership to the PSCRB would be a surefire way of that always being in consideration, giving new perspectives that will be present at every meeting and decision made,” he said.

The PSCRB is a bridge between community members and the Bloomington Police Department. If someone is dissatisified with resolution of their citizen complaint against BPD, they can ask the PSCRB to review it.

Moore said the new youth members could be full voting members or non-voting, ex-officio additions. The board currently has one vacancy.

Schmidt said PSCRB involvement would be a way to nurture young people who have a vision for what a future Bloomington should look like, especially in this moment of racial unrest.

“I’ve personally observed the mature and intentional ways that the younger generation of Bloomington-Normal are addressing these challenges,” she said. “Their rallies, marches and statements of goals and values are respectful, and they give me great hope for our future.”

The PSCRB plans to discuss the idea at its August meeting, said new chair Robert Bosquez.

“That’s a discussion that’s worthwhile to have in the future,” added board member Jeff Woodard.

Schmidt and Moore also recommended creation of a Youth and Police Partnership, modeled after the Minority and Police Partnership (MAPP), which Schmidt called a success.

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