First Up For Colorado Springs Police Accountability Commission? Next Year’s Police Budget

November 9, 2020
Activist and protest organizer, Charles Johnson became inspired as he leads early 200 protesters make their voices heard in front of the Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex in downtown Colorado Springs, CO on June 2, 2020 to bring attention to the death of George Floyd. "It's been awesome," said Johnson in reference to loud but peaceful protest. Floyd's death at the hands and knee of a Minnesota police officer has sparked a national protest against police brutality.Activist and protest organizer, Charles Johnson became inspired as he leads early 200 protesters make their voices heard in front of the Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex in downtown Colorado Springs, CO on June 2, 2020 to bring attention to the death of George Floyd. "It's been awesome," said Johnson in reference to loud but peaceful protest. Floyd's death at the hands and knee of a Minnesota police officer has sparked a national protest against police brutality. Bryan Oller / KRCC
Activist and protest organizer, Charles Johnson became inspired as he leads early 200 protesters make their voices heard in front of the Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex in downtown Colorado Springs, CO on June 2, 2020.

The Colorado Springs Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission (LETAC) has selected officers and is moving forward after its first meetings in October.

Janice "JJ" Frazier was chosen by council to represent District 4 in the southeastern part of the city. She was later selected by commission members as its chair. She currently works with Colorado Springs School District 11 as an HR Equity Specialist.

Frazier said witnessing community protests over the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery by police this spring made her interested in getting involved.

"Our nation was in turmoil, and my heart was heavy," said Frazier.

In addition, Frazier said conversations with her children and grandchildren about policing encouraged her to apply.

"I have six grandsons, I have a son, I have a daughter and I have two granddaughters who are African-American," said Frazier. "I want them to be able to feel safe in any situation, whether riding their bikes, walking across the street, driving their cars. They should have that right as a citizen, not only of Colorado Springs, but in this nation."

LETAC first met on October 5. Frazier said the first meeting was "a bit reserved" as people figured out the new group. Subsequent meetings allowed people to understand each other's priorities, establish officers and discuss community outreach.

Frazier said she's met with leaders from her district to jumpstart conversations and hear concerns about policing to bring to future meetings.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski will discuss the department's 2021 budget at LETAC's next meeting.

Frazier said she's interested in learning if the department has done anything differently since De'Von Bailey was killed by police officers in August 2019. She also wants to learn more about CSPD's race and ethnicity demographics for officers.

While the commission works through next steps, Frazier said she has a vision for what she wants to accomplish.

"What my desire is 10, 15 years down the road is for the police to have more of a presence, more of a familiarity with communities they patrol," said Frazier. "I think by us having those relationships it would make our city better, in the event that an incident like the De'Von Bailey tragedy happens."

The group is set to meet the first and third Monday of each month from 6-8 pm. Community members can attend virtually. Their next meeting is Nov. 16.