BLOOMINGTON — Mayor Tari Renner has nominated the first members of Bloomington's new civilian board to review public complaints against the police.
The City Council will be asked Monday night to approve the appointments of the Rev. William Bennett, Robert Bosquez, Surena Fish, Jan Lancaster, Sally Rudolph, Arthur Taylor and Jeffery Woodard to the seven-member Public Safety and Community Relations Board.
"I think they are very representative of the community," said Renner. "We've got people of color. We've got males and females, people who have long records of accomplishment in our city."
Bennett is pastor of the City of Refuge, a church on the west edge of downtown. Bosquez is the community engagement coordinator for the West Bloomington Revitalization Project.
Fish is retired and a member of the Miller Park neighborhood group. Lancaster is a self-described advocate for equality and owner of the downtown bar, The Bistro, a gathering place for the local LGBT community.
Rudolph is a retired pharmacist, a member of the League of Women Voters McLean County and former McLean County Board member. Taylor is active in Not In Our Town and was involved in diversity training at State Farm before retiring.
Woodward is director of marketing and community relations for the McLean County Museum of History.
"I am very confident that (the board) is going to be able to move forward and help us improve our police and neighborhood relationships," Renner added.
The mayor's appointments to the board must be approved by a supermajority of the council, which is six out of the nine aldermen.
As mayor, Renner could have made the selections himself, but he said he wanted the aldermen to have more input because this is a new board. He asked each alderman to look at all of the applications and submit his or her top three choices.
"This is the list, out of 66 applicants, who were the top vote-getters by the City Council, and I did promise the City Council that those would be the names I would submit," Renner said, adding, "The council made a very wise choice overall."
In July, the council approved creating the board, which was requested by an alliance of community organizations, including Not in Our Town, American Civil Liberties Union of Central Illinois, NAACP, YWCA of McLean County and Black Lives Matter Bloomington-Normal.
Black Lives Matter noted in a statement Tuesday that none of the group's 40 proposed members was nominated, but "we recognize and celebrate the leadership of the seven current nominees, and congratulate them on their opportunity to answer our community’s call for greater civilian power over the police."
The seven-member board will play an advisory role only. In looking at public complaints about police, the board will be empowered only to review whether police department protocols were followed properly in the department's own investigation of each complaint.
All applications will be kept on file for 24 months in case a vacancy should arise, said Bloomington Communication Manager Nora Dukowitz.