Champaign County ACLU Steering Committee

Thursday, November 3, 2011



1.     Introductions and invited guest Urbana Chief of Police Pat Connolly


The bulk of the meeting was devoted to an extended discussion with Urbana Chief Pat Connolly. Chief Connolly spent more than an hour with us, and dealt with the following issues:


A.   Police traffic stops, and the value of video camera coverage to clarify the proceedings

B.   The challenge of policing in southeast Urbana, where drug trafficking and pressure on residents has developed as a serious problem in recent years—calls for service have dropped in recent months, and part of the credit goes to the organization of neighborhood watch groups and their cooperation with the police.

C.   His own background in undercover narcotics operations on the West Coast before coming to Urbana.

D.  The operations of Urbana’s Civilian Police Review Board, and its process for handling civilian complaints from those dissatisfied with internal review.  Connolly noted that all Champaign county police forces except one have such boards.


(Note: Chief Connolly brought with him binders for distribution to the steering committee that contained helpful information on the review board and data on traffic stop issues, among other things.)


Chief Connolly invited us to contact his office if anyone was interested in participating in the police training program December 15-17.


2.     Minutes of the October meeting approved

3.     Announcements & Communications

a)     No formal finance report, although Steve noted the upcoming fall gathering as the major fund-raiser that would determine our flexibility in co-sponsoring local events.

b)    Law School Chapter & Student Chapter reports (none were presented)

c)     Karen Sheley event at the Urbana Free Library October 19—a small crowd, but excellent questions and discussion. Sheley discussed ACLU involvement in Catholic Charities v. Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), for which she was staff attorney.


4.     Old Business

a)    Fall Gathering – Nov 13th at the home of Jerry Wray & Dirk Mol, 1002 Mayfair

We discussed the necessary purchases and food contributions for the fall gathering and agreed to the door prize proposal. In addition to the civil liberties-related books provided (through WILL) by Carol Spindel, we will provide some other ACLU items (T-shirts, bags)  for the drawing. Those who attend will fill out a slip at the door when they make their donations and get name tags.  Jerry and Dirk will be doing a silent auction, with proceeds also to the ACLU. About 35 reservations so far, but not everyone RSVPs.  We also discussed access to the Facebook page.


5.     New Business

a)     YWCA “Hot Topics” panel November 14th  7:00 PM – want ACLU panelist to discuss the Troy Davis case and the death penalty issue.

b)    Because of the “Secure Communities” program December 1st at Champaign Library that we are co-sponsoring, the December steering committee meeting will be held a week later than usual, on December 8.

c)     The proposed Urbana ward map was distributed, but time constraints prohibited extended discussion of its implications.

6.     Adjournment at 8:35


Next meeting:  December 8th due to the co-sponsorship of the Secure Communities Program on December 1