COLORADO SPRINGS — The city of Colorado Springs now has its first citizen-run police oversight committee. The Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission members were confirmed by Colorado Springs City Council during its Tuesday session. It is 11 members and two alternates chosen from more than 800 applicants.
"I am the youngest. It feels good to represent the young voices in the community,” said new commission member Justin Baker. He was one of the organizers of police protests in Colorado Springs. He is also one of the people who asked for this commission to be formed.
Luis Velez the former Chief of Police in Colorado Springs and then Pueblo is also on the commission. He has decades of experience in law enforcement and says there are still things to learn. He looks forward to hearing different viewpoints from his new colleagues. “I think I’ll be able to learn a great deal myself form their perspective.” He says in his experience police departments are always looking for ways to improve and serve their communities better.
One of the commission members was also the subject of its first controversy. Rachael Flick’s husband Deputy Micah Flick was killed in the line of duty. She told city council members she wanted to “acknowledge the controversy,” knowing that not all members of the council voted for her. She says losing her husband is one of the most impactful and transformational things in her life, but that does not diminish her desire for unity in the community. “In the bigger picture, I absolutely care for racial justice and unity and the reconciliation of our nation on a big scale.”
Members of the commission are expected to delve into the world of policing to understand how it works. They have all agreed to ride-alongs, and other informational sessions to learn about the department.
Goals listed for the commission include:
- Officer and department accountability
- Zero tolerance for racial profiling
- Police department transparency and public records releases
- Internal investigations
- Use of force and officer-involved shooting procedures, training and policies
- Policies on how to handle protests
- Racial-bias training techniques and procedures
- De-escalation techniques
- Officer mental health
- Diverse recruitment goals
- Police department budget and resource allocation funding
This is the list of new commission members provided by the City of Colorado Springs.
District 1:Debra Walker: Walker is the executive director of the Citizens Project and serves on many boards and committees. She is a Founding Member and Chair of the Haiti Village Project and serves on CPSD’s Community Leaders Steering Committee as well as on the advisory board for the Center for Religious Diversity and Public Life at UCCS.
Brent Windebank: Windebank is a student at UCCS and a volleyball coach at Colorado Springs Christian High School. He also works as a grocery clerk. He worked previously in the City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department and has served on several boards and commissions.
Dr. Luis Velez: Velez served as Colorado Springs Police Chief and served 31 years on the force. He was also Pueblo Police Chief from 2011-2017. Velez also was the Dean of Criminal Justice at Colorado Technical University and served as Vice President of Education. He has served on the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board and has served on many boards and committees.
Rachel Flick: Flick has over twenty years of experience in leadership, human service and counseling. She currently owns her own counseling firm and also serves as a public speaker and author.
Terry Martinez: Martinez worked at several area schools during his 31-year career in education, serving as a principal, assistant principal and teacher. Martinez serves on the Judicial Review Commission for the 4th Judicial District and on the El Paso County Parks Advisory Board.
Justin Baker: One of the founders of the People 719 non-profit activism group, Baker helped write the initial proposal which formed the basis of the Commission. Baker works as a lumberjack.
Janice Frazier: Frazier chairs several organizations including Urbanites Leading the Pikes Peak Region, Colorado Alliance of Black School Educators and Diverse Coalition for Change-Oral Health. She has worked for Colorado Springs School District 11 for over 25 years and currently serves as D11’s human resources equity specialist.
Dennis Moore: Moore retired from a 20-year career as a program analyst in the Air Force in 1986 and spent 20 years in Federal Civil Service until 2007. He served on the Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee from 2014-2020. Moore has served on numerous boards and commissions in government as well as Teen Court, Christmas Unlimited and the YMCA Advisory Board.
Steve Kern: Kern retired from a 34-year teaching career in 2017. He taught for 23 years at Palmer High School and directed its International Baccalaureate diploma program for 15 years. Kern is currently an associate with Henjum Consulting Group and is a founding member of the Springs Philosophy Project.
Joe Aldaz: President & CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Aldaz also serves on the boards of the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC and Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado and is active on the Pikes Peak Community College Hispanic Advisory Council and Institute for Veterans and Military Families Diversity & Inclusion Council.
Kate Angulski: Assistant professor of Criminal Justice for the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Angulski is a published author with an extensive background in research in the areas of drug use and policy, criminal desistance and international / comparative criminal justice.
Rosita Camargo (District 4): Camargo has over 12 years of experience working with homeless youth and adults and previously served on the board of the National Latinx Coalition to end Homelessness.
Felicia Embry (District 5): Embry is the owner/operator of Thelma Lou’s Innersoul Food catering company and runs her own financial consulting firm.
List of finalists for police accountability commission shortened
Finalists interview for police accountability commission this week
Explaining the role of civilian oversight in officer-involved shootings
Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Committee unanimously approved
Springs City Council approves Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission
City Council proceeds with proposal to appoint police oversight board