Clergy, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Springfield Police form law enforcement advisory team

Protesters gather in the intersection of North Limestone Street and Columbia Street Sunday to protest police violence connected to the killing of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody last week. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Protesters gather in the intersection of North Limestone Street and Columbia Street Sunday to protest police violence connected to the killing of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody last week. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Local Springfield clergy members, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Springfield Police Division met on Wednesday and agreed to create a ‘Community Law Enforcement Advisory Team,” according to a joint statement from the groups.

The purpose of the team will be to, “develop specific measurable action steps to ensure that minorities in Springfield and Clark County enjoy equal protection under the law, and that measures are in place to make sure that racial profiling, unfair treatment and the use of unnecessary force does not occur in our community,” the statement said.

The team will consist of Springfield Police Division Chief Lee Graf, Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett, Executive Director of Urban Light/New Hope Eli Williams, Senior Pastor at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church Ernie Brown and Senior Pastor at Central Christian Church Carl Ruby.

“I think we are at critical crossroads. Our response to what’s happening across our nation since the murder of George Floyd will determine what kind of community we are,” Ruby said. “I’m very encouraged by how open our major law enforcement agencies are to community involvement and minority input.”

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The team will work with local law enforcement to, “develop and advance minority input in the standards by which we police our community,” the statement said.

“Members of minority groups in Springfield must have a voice and spot at the table as we work together to enact community policing standards that keep all members of our community safe,” Ruby said.

The Springfield News-Sun is working to learn more about the Community Law Enforcement Advisory Team and will update our website when we know more.

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