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Mayor appoints 2 new members to Lawrence Police Review Board; Commissioners’ Questions Board and its direction – The Lawrence Times

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The Community Police Review Board has two new members following Tuesday’s Lawrence City Commission meeting, and the commissioners briefly discussed the board’s situation.

The committee voted 4-1 to approve Brenda Clary and Gregory Tempel on partial CPRB terms that expire on August 31, 2024. That brings the board to six current members out of seven total seats. The last board meeting, scheduled for February 9, was canceled because the board did not have a quorum.


The mayor, currently Lisa Larsen, is responsible for nominating community members to serve on city advisory boards. Appointments are typically on the committee’s consensus agenda, a list of items considered routine and usually approved by one vote. But Commissioner Amber Sellers asked to discuss the CPRB appointments on Tuesday.

Sellers noted that he thought the candidates were qualified, but that he had shared some action items with city staff and hoped those items would be reflected before new members were nominated.

In retrospect, he said Wednesday, “action objects” was probably not the best term to use and that the connotation of that term “makes it sound like it’s a lot more intense than it really is.” He said he asked city staff questions about the onboarding process and training of council members, and he wanted those questions answered before voting on new appointees.

“What are we missing in the meantime that we can do to make this board more cohesive, successful and really come together and pick up where previous iterations of the board left off and move forward with their work, whatever that sounds like?” The sellers said.

He said the CPRB has seen a lot of attrition. Three members resigned around the same time in December, and a recent appointee resigned earlier this month ahead of her first meeting.

“Something just doesn’t stick,” Sellers said. “So if there’s anything we can do as a governing body to help with onboarding and maturation and everything else they need to be successful, I want to run it out before I throw two more people on a board that could deal with , you know, whatever they have to do with, from the ongoing iterations of that board.

Sellers said that, as part of the governing body, he is responsible for advisory board members and, with no answers to his questions, he did not want to vote on new members. She hoped the committee could delay the vote until its first meeting in March to give city staff time to answer his questions, but still get new CPRB members approved before the next board meeting. March 9th.

Larsen said during the meeting that he thought CPRB candidates were good and wanted them to have the time to learn about how those board members are trained so they can be prepared for their first meeting.


Commissioner Courtney Shipley, during Tuesday’s meeting, said she thought there was a lot to undo with the CPRB, although she didn’t necessarily think considering the nominations was the right space for the committee to discuss them.

The board has largely been in purgatory for the past two and a half years. Read the background in this January article.

“There are places where we need to give direction. How can we create space for ourselves to do this? Shipley said. “I feel like there was a lot of lack of direction or infighting. But I don’t think right here, naming these two people, is the way to take control of it or to take responsibility for which part is ours. So how do we make room for that?

A public commentator had suggested that the city commission take responsibility for the council and review the ordinance that codifies its duties. Shipley said he thinks it’s an interesting idea, but questionable in the long run.

“It sounds cool when you say it like that, but I can tell you right away that no matter what you do, it’s going to lack transparency,” she said. “So I just want to make sure I’m giving some sort of real direction here.”

The commissioners then took time off to have a member of the public removed from the meeting room for speaking out of order. When they returned, they voted 4-1, with the sellers against, to approve the new CPRB appointees.

The Community Police Review Board meets on the second Thursday of the month at City Hall. The agenda for the March 9 meeting will be posted here, typically a couple of days before the meeting.

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Related coverage: Lawrence Community Police Review Board

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Mackenzie Clark (s/he), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be contacted at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more about her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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