Champaign police support equipping officers with Tasers at community meeting

 CHAMPAIGN--The Champaign Police Department held the first of five community meetings Wednesday, to offer updates on the force's strategic plan, and receive feedback from the community.

These kinds of conversations have not happened in Champaign for about 10 years. Community members and police officers came together at the Illini Union to discuss what strategies are working and which ones still need some work.

Diversifying the force was one of the first objectives mentioned by Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb and his deputy chiefs at Wednesday's meeting.

They also emphasized getting their officers engaged in the neighborhoods they serve, and building trust as a byproduct.

Over the next few years, the department will be equipped with various new technologies and will hire new officers with the backgrounds needed to deploy them properly.

They also offered their support for one piece of equipment in particular.

"Officers should be allowed to use Tasers when appropriate for community safety and officer safety," said Deputy Police Chief, Troy Daniels.

"There's always a lot of concern when you look at what police departments are doing in our country," said Cobb. "What we want to do is be transparent with our public and say this is what we're looking to do with your police department, these are the services and direction we want to move in as an agency. Are we going in the right direction?"

Members of the public are encouraged to offer their opinions at the remaining meetings throughout the next month.

There will be four more Champaign Police community meetings from now through May 20th.

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