FAQ:

  • Can people outside of Urbana sign the petition? YES, we will be dividing the petition responses by Urbana residents and other responders. 
    • Actually, it is very relevant to have input from residents of surrounding communities since our police departments coordinate very closely. Did you know that the Urbana police department gives assistnace to surrounding departments (such as U of I and Champaign) at a rate of 2 to 1? (i.e. - for every hour of help provided TO Urbana, Urbana provides ~2 hours of help to the surrounding communities). (see recent consultant report page 74).
  • Can I get involved in helping spread the word? YES (please and thank you!).
  • What is the schedule of the vote on this proposed budget? 
    • THE TIME FRAME ON THE BUDGET AND HIRING MORE POLICING
      Tuesday, May 28, at City Hall, at 7:00 p.m.
          First formal presentation of the FY2025 Budget. All department heads, (public works, finance, fire, police, and community development) will give a presentation about the changes and increases they want for their various departments.
      Monday, June 3, 7:00 p.m. 
         Follow-up questions for the department heads from council.
      Monday, June 10, 7:00 p.m.
         More follow-up questions/discussions if needed
      Monday, June 17, 7:00 p.m.
         First vote by council on the FY2025 budget ordinance to send to the next council meeting.
      Monday, June 24, 7:00 p.m.
          Final vote and approval by the city council to adopt a FY2025 budget.
      AT ALL OF THESE MEETINGS WILL BE PUBLIC INPUT FOR 5-MINUTES EACH. 

 

  • Is it safe for non police officers (such as unarmed mental health providers and social workers) to respond to non-criminal and low risk calls for service?
    • Yes. In fact, it can be safer for everyone involved by avoiding the escalation that a weapon can bring to otherwise non-violent crisis situations. When Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) spoke at the IMC (see slides and recording here) they addressed this questions extensively. In their experience with dozens of communities that have implemented community based responders, most (if not all) equip the responders with radios to directly call for backup from the police department if needed. In all, LEAP found that responders almost never needed to even call for backup (for example CAHOOTS in Eugene, OR has responded to 15,000+ dispatches and called for backup 0.2% of the time). LEAP (who works closely with these programs) had never heard of a community responder being hurt. 
    • Who are Law Enforcement Action Partnership? According to their website, "The Law Enforcement Action Partnership is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit of police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials, and other law enforcement officials advocating for criminal justice and drug policy reforms that will make our communities safer and more just."

 

  • Does Urbana need more Administrative Staff for the police department?
    • No, we already have a higher ratio of administrative to patrol staff than comparable departments. See Table 2.5 on page 37 of the Berry Dunn Phase 1 report

 

  • Does Urbana need more Investigations Staff for the police department?
    • No. In fact, there appears to be an opportunity to move duties currently performed by patrol to the investigation
      department as investigation has “strong availability” (Berry Dunn Phase 1 p137) 

 

  • Does Urbana need more Patrol officers in the police department? 
    • It depends on how you look at it but it seems likely that we do not (especially given the relatively high levels of Investigations and Administrative staff which could support patrol, see above). The Berry Dunn phase 1 study concluded that we need 14 additional patrol staff in the UPD (split between badges and non-badged employees). This conclusion assumes police can only respond to calls 30% of the time they are working, the UPD cannot be as efficient as comparable police departments and they will respond to all the calls they currently respond to even if we implement alternative community response (even though 73% of 911 calls to police are currently for non-criminal and non-violent issues). What do you think are reasonable assumptions to make?  Data scientist and professor in the computer science department at the University of Illinois Dr. Camille Cobb has broken down the math in this spreadsheet so you can adjust the assumed variables from Berry Dunn's and see how many officers we would need. For example, what if police officers responded to calls 40% the time they are working? Or what if we assumed that the minimum time that is required to respond to calls was the average time other communities take to respond to these calls? Do armed officers really need to be responding to noise and music complaints? In many cases, the data indicates that we already have plenty of patrol staff in Urbana.

 

  • Is there a summary of the Berry Dunn report with page number references? 

 

  • Why does an alternative responder need to be outside the police department? 
    • This is a question which is very well addressed by the LEAP presentation (timestamp 20:30). LEAP experts shared that putting Alternative Response inside the police department is NOT common and would lead to distrust of the program. Further, since the calls are non-criminal in nature it does not make sense to send a law enforcement personnel.