CLOUT: Mayor Fischer needs to urge LMPD to improve shooting de-escalation tactics

April 13, 2018. Courier-Journal.
Whenever there is a police shooting in our community there is much back-and-forth commentary and disagreement about whether the shooting could have been avoided. When the victim is a person of color, questions and disagreements become even more acute.

When the health problems of mental illness or addiction are involved, additional questions about avoidability arise. As a community that identifies itself as one of compassion, this topic is one that we must discuss and work on together for improvement, for the sake of our citizens and police officers alike.

Criminal justice group’s spokeswoman says expanding Douglas County Jail would contribute to nation’s mass incarceration problem

April 11, 2018. Lawrence Journal-World.

Rising jail populations among smaller jurisdictions such as Douglas County are contributing to mass incarceration in the United States, a spokeswoman for a national criminal justice policy organization said at a gathering Wednesday night.

Jasmine Heiss, director of outreach for In Our Backyards of the Vera Institute of Justice, spoke at Lawrence’s Carnegie Building at the invitation of Justice Matters, Kansas Appleseed and the University of Kansas’ Department of African and African-American Studies. Heiss said part of her role at the Vera Institute is advising municipalities like Douglas County on how to reduce the number of people they jail.

Justice Matters and Kansas Appleseed both oppose the half-cent sales tax that’s been proposed as a funding source for an expansion of the Douglas County Jail.

Douglas County Commission may be forced to put new mental health, tax plan on November ballot

April 9, 2018. Lawrence Journal-World.

Leaders with Justice Matters announced Monday they will start a legally binding petition drive to get on the November ballot an alternative to the $11 million behavioral health campus Douglas County has proposed.

If successful, the petition drive will ask county voters to approve a 3.5 mill levy increase to help fund the development of a crisis center and its operation, said Ben MacConnell, Justice Matters lead organizer. Using 2017 assessment figures, the mill levy would raise an estimated $4.2 million. It is proposed the tax would sunset in 10 years, unless approved again by voters.

Charleston officials consider recommendations for police racial bias study

April 4, 2018. Charleston City Paper.

City officials amended a document outlining recommendations for an upcoming audit to determine whether racial bias plays a part in Charleston policing practices at a sparsely-attended public meeting Wednesday morning.

Members of the ad-hoc police audit committee updated a scope of work proposal written by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM), a local social justice advocacy group made up of 28 local congregations and organizations.

Charleston will host a public meeting on the racial bias police audit Wednesday morning

April 2, 2018. Charleston City Paper.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about the practices of the Charleston Police Department, Wednesday morning’s public meeting might be your best forum yet.

The City of Charleston is hosting a public meeting on the issue on Wed. April 4 at 10 a.m. at 2 George Street.

The meeting will be the first public move in an effort to clarify what will be reviewed before the search for an auditing firm begins. It will be chaired by city councilman and Public Safety Committee chairman Peter Shahid.