Urbana establishes terms for its Traffic Stop Data Task Force

By Eli Murray

The City of Urbana is now accepting applications for members to join the Traffic Stop Data Task Force that will examine racial disparities in local traffic stop data.

According to the resolution, the task force will be composed of 11 members selected by Mayor Laurel Prussing. Two of the members are to have expertise in statistics, one member may be from the city council and one member will be a representative of the Urbana Police Department. The other seven members will be selected based on their expertise in law enforcement, sociology, or other relevant experiences but do not have to live in Urbana.

The task force is to have a monthly meeting which will be video recorded and uploaded on Urbana’s website. The members of the task force will submit preliminary findings and policy recommendations by April 30, 2015, after which they will hold a public presentation and answer questions from the public.

Area resident Martel Miller spoke before the council to ask that they carefully consider applications and select the right people to join the task force.

“I think we can set examples (with this task force) … and we can not only be a model for this city and this state, we could be a model for the country,” he said.

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    Another area resident, James Kilgore, spoke before the council about his involvement in a similar task force in Champaign County which looked into alternatives to building a jail.

    The task force was a diverse group, he said, but everyone shared a goal.

    “No one came to the task force with the idea that they wanted to build a jail,” he said, warning the council that the to-be-established task force would accomplish very little if its members could not agree on an end goal and instead argued over statistics.

    Alderwoman Carol Ammons, Ward 3, said she applauded the other council members for their work in establishing the task force, adding that the community was moving in the right direction.

    Applications to join the task force are due by the end of February, and appointments will be made by Prussing in March.

    Eli can be reached at [email protected].