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Lawrence’s Community Police Review Board selects new leadership, hears appeal of complaint

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Post updated at 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8:

The two newest appointees to the Lawrence Community Police Review Board will take the helm as chair and vice chair, members voted Thursday.

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James Minor, who joined the board in April, was selected as the new CPRB chair; Jordan Bickford, appointed in June, will serve as vice chair. They replace members Jenny Robinson and Sanjay Mishra, respectively, in those roles.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, board members adjourned to an executive (closed-door) session to hear an appeal of a resolution to a complaint of bias-based policing.

That marks the first time since the board was created in 2018 that members have actually been asked to hear such an appeal, which are the only types of complaints they are tasked with reviewing under the current city resolution.

Starting in 2020, at the direction of the Lawrence City Commission, board members began drafting an ordinance that expanded their duties beyond that narrow scope, but that has been a long and complicated process. Soon, a new board — the Community-Police Oversight Work Group — will soon begin to review that draft ordinance along with the police complaint process. (See additional coverage at the links below.)

Following the executive session, Robinson said “We determined that the complaint was not related to racial or other bias-based policing, and is not under the purview of the CPRB.”

Robinson said under the city’s ordinance that the CPRB is to be provided a copy of the file in its entirety.

“While most of the files were, not all were presented. There are no other entities within the city that they may appeal the decision of (the Office of Professional Accountability) through. We would like to direct the city staff to send a letter with the statement to the city manager.”

In other business:

Lawrence Police Chief Rich Lockhart shared an update on the Lawrence Police Department’s journey toward accreditation. He said LPD will likely be the first department in the state that will be accredited under both CALEA — the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies — and KLEAP, the Kansas Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, which anticipates a statewide launch this fall.

CALEA is an international program “known as the gold standard in police accreditation,” Lockhart said. He said LPD has hired a new accreditation manager in July, and she has started laying preliminary groundwork for the processes.

“The reason we wanted to do both is we felt like there was a real opportunity here to be in on the ground floor with KLEAP to assist other agencies as they go through the accreditation process, and also to take advantage of some of the subject matter experts that we have here who can help with other agencies with developing good policies and practices, so we’re going to go ahead and pursue them both,” he said.

Lockhart shared that the department in early October will bring in Lorie Fridell, a nationally known expert in bias-based policing, for a training session. Fridell is a professor of criminology at the University of South Florida and the CEO of Fair and Impartial Policing.

The seven-member CPRB has one vacancy. An application to serve is available at this link; click the button that says “Apply” to pull up the application.

The CPRB next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13. Meetings for the Community-Police Oversight Work Group do not yet appear on the city’s website, but they will be open to the public, city staff members have said.

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Related coverage: Lawrence Community Police Review Board

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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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