The Colorado Springs Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission began its first in a series of listening and learning sessions Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The city of Colorado Springs created the commission after the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and the 2019 police shooting of De'Von Bailey.

The sessions are each organized around one of four specific topics, covering communication, racial bias, crisis response and use of force. The commission will discuss each topic during two separate meetings, and then hold two town halls, on Jan. 21 and Feb. 13 to received additional community input.

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CSPD blocking off South Murray Boulevard near East Fountain Boulevard.

The first session, focused on communication, included a presentation from the Colorado Springs Police Department, followed by questions from commissioners and then public comment. CSPD Commander Mike Velasquez provided an overview of CSPD’s efforts at community engagement, community partnerships and current communication efforts. Amanda Terrell-Orr, CSPD’s planning and grants administrator, discussed CSPD’s efforts towards transparency and shared details about plans for CSPD’s newly introduced data hub, which will allow community members to view data on crime, use of force, traffic incidents, and demographic information of CSPD’s officers.

Public comment was brief, and LETAC commissioners Rachel Flick and Deb Walker emphasized the importance of public participation and comment in the future work of the law enforcement commission. The group will hold virtual town halls during Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. Individuals can sign up to attend and comment by emailing LETAC@ColoradoSprings.gov or calling 719-385-5480.

On Feb. 1, the LETAC will hold their second session on communication, which will consist of group discussion by LETAC commissioners covering CSPD’s presentation and community input. The sessions on racial bias will take place Feb. 16 and Mar. 21, crisis response will take place Mar. 15 and Apr. 5 and use of force will take place Apr. 19 and May 3.

Community members can visit www.ColoradoSprings.gov/LETAC for upcoming meeting agendas and additional information on the town halls.

Heidi Beedle is a former soldier, educator, activist, and animal welfare worker. She received a Bachelor’s in English from UCCS. She has worked as a freelance writer covering LGBTQ issues, nuclear disasters, cattle mutilations, and social movements.