Lawrence’s Community Police Review Board plans special meeting to tweak ordinance

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As the discussion heated up over the draft ordinance revamping the responsibilities of Lawrence’s Community Police Review Board, the members opted to call it a night and come back for another meeting before their next regular one.

Under the current ordinance, the board is tasked with reviewing only appeals of certain complaints that have been resolved by the Lawrence Police Department, and it has yet to receive a complaint since it launched in 2018. The members have been working for months on the draft ordinance, which would expand its duties.

As part of the meeting agenda, staff from both the city manager’s and the city attorney’s offices included memos compiled after they had reviewed the draft and researched questions board members asked during previous meetings.

In a few tense moments, board member Bill Graybill questioned Assistant City Manager Brandon McGuire about whether the memo was indicating that the city manager’s office had a specific objection to any piece of the draft ordinance, or if they believed the ordinance violated the due process rights of Lawrence police officers. McGuire said the question would be one to discuss with other stakeholders, such as the Lawrence Police Officers Association (LPOA) and police leadership.


But before the ordinance reaches that point, the board wants to clean up a few points that have yet to be decided: whether criminal background checks should be required for potential board members, whether the board wants to accept anonymous citizen complaints, and a few other loose ends.

Once that is done, though, the board will move forward with meetings with other stakeholders, and they hope to finish the whole process by sometime in October, they decided Thursday.

The board also heard from Lawrence Police Department Lt. David Ernst about LPD’s annual report to the state attorney general on racial and bias-based policing.

As the Times reported, LPD did have one sustained complaint in Fiscal Year 2021. It was a self-initiated investigation generated within the department for gender-based discrimination, city spokesperson Porter Arneill said, and that employee is no longer working for the city.

The Times will provide an update when the board’s special meeting time is announced.

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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