City of Lawrence announces first meeting of Community Police Oversight Work Group
photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World
After months of delay, the city has scheduled the first meeting of a work group that will consider changes to how the city handles complaints against police and other policing matters.
The Community Police Oversight Work Group will hold its first meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday in the Jayhawk Room at Fire Station No. 5, 1911 Stewart Ave., according to a city news release. The city has contracted with Jonathan Morris of J Morris Consulting to provide facilitation services for the work group.
Accountability concerns regarding the city’s process for handling complaints against police date back several years, and the work group will consider making changes to how the city handles complaints against police, the role of community oversight and the community’s relationship with police more broadly. The commencement of the work group, which was supposed to start in September 2022, has been delayed in part due to resignations from the Community Police Review Board, which has three appointees to the work group. Other appointees include community members and police department and police union representatives.
The work group will meet a total of eight times before the end of August, including six work sessions and two larger-scale Community Conversations, according to the release. All meetings will be held in-person and are open to the public. The public can also join the meeting virtually via Zoom, but advance registration is required. The release states that as part of the first meeting, the group will outline its work and begin planning for Community Conversations to be held this summer.
The Community Conversations will be hosted by the work group and focused solely on public input and ideas to inform the work group’s efforts and recommendations. The six working meetings, including the upcoming meeting on Monday, will not include public comment but will provide opportunities for the public to provide written feedback relevant to the work group’s tasks at that time. The release states that work group draft documents and related resources will be available soon on the city website so the public can track work group progress and see next steps in the process. Following Monday’s meeting, subsequent meeting dates are May 22, June 5 and July 10. Additional information about the work group is available on the city’s website, Lawrenceks.org.