Debate over police partnership with local group ensues

The C-U Citizens for Peace and Justice and Champaign resident Terry Townsend called for the dismantling of the Champaign Community and Police Partnership, or CCAPP, at Tuesday night’s Champaign City Council meeting

CCAPP is a group of volunteers from the city and African American community, said Marci Dodds, Dist. 4 councilwoman.

The group meets with police monthly to discuss ways to improve relationships between the two parties.

Townsend said the group acts like “a secret society” by not allowing the public to attend the meetings.

“Tonight I battle for the soul of the city,” Townsend said. “It (CCAPP) deprives the community of synergy needed to solve its own problems.”

The group is voluntary and not elected, so it is not ruled by the open meetings act, Dodds said.

Other members of the audience who supported the disbandment said CCAPP is not representative of the area because not all community roles participate.

“This group (CCAPP) is not vetted publicly or voted on by council,” said Carol Ammons, CU Citizens for Peace and Justice member. “I challenge you (the council) to look carefully at the ongoing mission of CCAPP.”

Steve Carter, city manager, said CCAPP has tried to make improvements for the last 10 years and dismantling it would not change a productive image.

“There’s been some solid accomplishments,” he said. “The staff is ready to support any group interested in making a change.”

Will Kyles, Dist. 1 councilman who was not in attendance at the meeting, said CCAPP is taking measures toward public participation.

“Right now there is dialogue and getting rid of the group runs a risk,” he said. “You would have to come up with a totally different board, and that could take a year or two of work.”

He said this is the first time he has heard the community ask for the dismantling of CCAPP.

The demand occurred after Kiwane Carrington was shot in a skirmish with police.

Stuart Levy, Champaign resident, said he was glad the Champaign Police Department’s use of force policy was being re-examined and would the city to create a civilian review board.

“Publicize the complaint process,” he said.

“Going to the police to complain about the police is not effective.”

Champaign resident Madalyn Tinsley and other community members called for the resignation of Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney.

“We have a problem with the police department,” Tinsley said. “This is not a race issue, it’s a human issue. It needs to stop.”

Carter said there was no need to put Finney on administrative leave.

“I don’t think he did anything wrong,” Carter said.