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Normal Eyes Early 2018 For Its Own Police Board

Normal City Manager Mark Peterson at a recent council meeting.

As Bloomington’s new civilian police advisory board gets to work, a similar group in the Town of Normal will also be taking shape in 2018.

In August, the Town of Normal’s Vision 2040 subcommittee on race and law enforcement recommended creation of a Community Policing Culture Board. That was one of many recommendations in a 12-page document presented to Normal Town Council members focusing on how the town’s police officers could improve their interactions with people of color.

Members of that Vision 2040 subcommittee are now meeting with rank-and-file Normal police officers to get their input on the idea, City Manager Mark Peterson said Thursday. Peterson said he expects to receive recommendations from those Vision 2040 subcommittee members in January. He’ll then work with Mayor Chris Koos to identify potential candidates for the new Community Policing Culture Board, which could be in place by February.

“We felt it was really important to get the perspective of the police officers, because they’re a big part of this whole initiative,” Peterson said.

The meetings with rank-and-file officers—including the police union president—will help shape the recommendations for the new board, Peterson said. For example, should the board’s membership include a police officer?

In Bloomington, the new Public Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB) held its first orientation meeting Dec. 13. That seven-member board was created in July after months of lobbying by community groups include Black Lives Matter and YWCA McLean County.

Both boards were proposed in the wake of officer-involved shootings across the country that further deteriorated relationships between police departments and the communities they serve. The boards are seen as a proactive measure to avoid similar episodes in Bloomington-Normal.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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