Mayor Biss creates new public safety committee as one of his first acts in office


Daily file photo by Allie Goulding

Mayor Daniel Biss speaks in Fisk Hall in 2018. Biss announced the creation of a committee to analyze public safety efforts in the city and make recommendations for the 2022 budget.

Delaney Nelson, City Editor

As one of his first acts in office, Mayor Daniel Biss created the Reimagining Public Safety Committee, he announced at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The committee, which comprises 17 city officials and community members, plans to analyze the city’s public safety efforts — which encompasses the Evanston Police Department — and provide recommendations for the 2022 city budget.

“We are prepared to take on what is perhaps the most difficult and controversial issue before us,” Biss said. “But it’s also, from both a quality of life and a budgetary standpoint issue, perhaps the most significant one and I cannot wait to get started.”

Biss, along with the rest of the 81st City Council, which includes four new alderpeople, five returning alderpeople and a new city clerk, were sworn in Monday.

During his mayoral campaign, Biss advocated for less spending on policing and told The Daily the city should reduce the occupational scope of the Evanston Police Department. He also called for increased transparency from University Police and the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System.

Along with Biss serving as chair, the committee includes representatives from organizations throughout the city, including Sarah Bogan of Evanston Fight for Black Lives, Betty Bogg of Connections for the Homeless, Betty Ester of Citizens’ Network of Protection, Patrick Keenan-Devlin of the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy and Kristen White of YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

City officials on the committee include Alds. Bobby Burns (5th), Devon Reid (8th) and Cicely Fleming (9th), as well as Alejandra L. Ibañez and Kymberly Walton of the Equity & Empowerment Commission and Nathan Norman of the youth and young adult division of the city’s Health and Human Services Department.

Marcus Campbell will represent Evanston Township High School, Andrew Papachristos will represent Northwestern and Melissa Sacluti will represent EPD. Community activist Sean Peck-Collier and organizer Evangeline Semark will also serve as committee members.

“I’m incredibly honored and appreciative of a diverse, remarkably knowledgeable and expert group of folks who agreed to be a part of that,” Biss said. “I also am well aware that that group of people cannot possibly represent the full quilts of views and knowledge and experiences in this community, and so I’m making an open invitation for anybody in this town who wants to be a part of this effort to raise their hand.”

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Twitter: @delaneygnelson

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