Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved 11 residents to serve on a commission focused on police accountability and transparency. Two alternates were also approved.
Current community discussions on a police accountability group started in May after national protests over the death of George Floyd.
In July, city council approved a Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission aimed at improving community relationships with the police department and offering policy recommendations.
Over 800 people applied to be on the commission. That number was narrowed down to 27 finalists who recently went through interviews.
Council members deliberated on a final list of candidates in mid-September, and presented them for a vote of approval at the Sept. 22 council meeting.
Council members commented on the large number of applicants, saying it was a sign of the community's investment in the commission.
"All of us want what is best for our community," council member Wayne Williams said. "I'm excited to have such wonderful people be selected. I don't think I've ever gone through a process that started with 800 people and wound up with 13 before."
Council members David Geislinger and Bill Murray both said they look forward to the commission's data-driven recommendations to the council.
"If you see something that you think needs to be addressed, as an individual, as a group, come and challenge us," Geislinger said. "That's what we're here for and don't be afraid to speak. It's a check and balance that's being implemented here."
Previous coverage on the Colorado Springs Police Commission:
- Colorado Springs City Council Finalizing Police Commission Candidates
- Colorado Springs City Council Approves Formation Of Police Advisory Committee
- Law Enforcement Transparency And Accountability Committee Moves Forward In Colorado Springs
- ‘The Community Is Demanding More Of You:’ First Council Meeting Since Protests Began In CO Springs
Those approved for the panel gave brief statements about their background and the responsibility they feel in serving.
Alternate Rosita Camargo from the city's southeastern 4th District said she hopes the commission promotes better communication between the police department and the community.
"I've had to have the conversation with my children as to what to do if they were ever approached by the police, and now I can have the conversation with the police [about] what to do if they ever approach my children," Camargo said.
Commission members were randomly selected to serve varying term lengths. Terry Martinez (District 3), Joe Aldaz (District 6), Dennis Moore (District 4) and Justin Baker (District 4) were chosen to serve an initial three-year term.
Janice "JJ" Frazier (District 4), Luis Velez (District 3), Rachel Flick (District 3) and Steve Kern (District 5) were chosen for an initial two-year term.
Kate Angulski (District 6), Deb Walker (District 1) and Brent Windebank (District 2) were selected for an initial one-year term.
Alternates Camargo and Felicia Embry (District 5) will serve a three-year term. Members have the potential to serve up to seven years on the commission.
Williams said due to the potential length of these appointments, he expected appointees "to dig in."
"This is not just a one meeting process," Williams said. "This is a long-term commitment to make our community as great as it can possibly be."
Commission members are working with the city to coordinate schedules and find a time for their first meeting.