Bloomington gets new city commission on public safety with 6–3 city council vote.

At its regular Wednesday meeting, on a  6–3 vote, Bloomington’s city council established a new commission that will be called the Community Advisory on Public Safety (CAPS) commission.

The new commission has the goal to “increase the safety of all Bloomington community members, especially those often marginalized due to race, disability, gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation.”

Dissenting were Jim Sims, Susan Sandberg, and Sue Sgambelluri.

The three are also members of the city council’s standing public safety committee, which reviewed the ordinance at two meetings—one in late October  and another one last week. Their lack of support for the new commission was conveyed by abstentions on the committee’s vote.

As members of the city council’s public safety standing committee, the three who dissented will now share in the committee’s job to make recommendations for appointments to the 11-member CAPS commission. Members are supposed to include Black, Latinx, other people of color, people with disabilities, people who are non-cisgender, and members of other marginalized groups.

Sims, who chairs the council’s public safety committee, told The Square Beacon, “I was in the minority on the vote. The majority wanted this, and it is now my responsibility to participate and make it work.” Continue reading “Bloomington gets new city commission on public safety with 6–3 city council vote.”

Vote to create new commission on public safety set for Wednesday meeting of Bloomington’s city council

On Wednesday (Nov. 18), Bloomington’s city council will be voting on the question of establishing a new 11-member commission with the name: Community Advisory on Public Safety (CAPS) Commission.

The new commission would have the goal to “increase the safety of all Bloomington community members, especially those often marginalized due to race, disability, gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation.”

The idea for the commission grew out of a national conversation about different approaches to policing that emerged this last summer.

In May, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who pinned him down with a knee-on-neck hold, which was documented on video. That came after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman was killed by Louisville police officers in March. They were serving a no-knock search warrant shortly after midnight.

Response to national events was localized over the summer in the form of demonstrations, public meetings, and scrutiny of local area law enforcement. Bloomington police department statistics on use of force and arrests show a disparate impact on the Black community.

Councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith, a co-sponsor of the ordinance that would establish the CAPS commission, said at a meeting of the council’s four-member public safety committee in late October: “We have heard from many constituents that members of our community do not feel safe. They’ve told us this in emails, conversations, petitions, and public meetings.”

Continue reading “Vote to create new commission on public safety set for Wednesday meeting of Bloomington’s city council”

Bloomington city commission on public safety pitched by 3 councilmembers, gets lukewarm response from council standing committee

At its meeting last Wednesday, the Bloomington city council’s standing committee on public safety considered an ordinance that would establish a new city commission.

The 11-member commission would be called the Community Advisory on Public Safety Commission, which yields CAPS as an acronym. Its goal, according to the ordinance, would be to “to increase the safety of all Bloomington community members, especially those often marginalized due to race, disability, gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation.”

According to the ordinance wording, the commission’s membership, which would be appointed by the city council, is to include people who are Black, Latinx, other people of color, people with disabilities, people who are non-cisgender, and members of other marginalized groups.

The ordinance grew in part out of a national movement over the summer that came in response to police violence against Black people, including the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville.

The ordinance creating the commission is sponsored by three councilmembers: Matt Flaherty, Kate Rosenbarger, and Isabel Piedmont-Smith. Of the three, Piedmont-Smith is the one who is a member of the standing committee on public safety. The other three members of the committee are: Jim Sims (chair), Sue Sgambelluri, and Susan Sandberg.

After a couple hours of deliberation on Wednesday, Sims, Sgambelluri, and Sandberg seemed ready to send the proposal back to the full city council without their support—by abstaining from a committee vote.

In the end, they voted to hold another committee meeting on the topic. Continue reading “Bloomington city commission on public safety pitched by 3 councilmembers, gets lukewarm response from council standing committee”