Mayor Biss creates ‘Reimagining Safety Committee’

When Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss took office on May 10, 2021, one of his first actions was his creation of the Reimagining Public Safety Committee. The committee, which is comprised of 17 individuals, functions with the goal of analyzing and questioning our current public safety methods, as well as brainstorming ways to modernize our current system. The members of the committee will then use this data and research to propose public safety recommendations for the 2022 city budget. 

“I [appointed the committee] on my first day of mayor for two reasons. One, it’s important for me to send signals about priorities. Secondly, I wanted to show that I’m not just going to run on something. I’m going to make myself the chair so I can hold myself accountable,” Biss said. “ I think getting started with a diverse group of people around the table was the way to go. I learned a lot just in the first three months. I think there’s an opportunity to make a serious difference.” 

The committee is made up of Biss, who serves as the chair, as well as city officials and representatives from a variety of local organizations. Most notably, there is a representative from Evanston Fight for Black Lives, ETHS, Northwestern, and EPD. In addition, the committee consists of 3 alderpeople, 2 individuals from the Equity and Empowerment Commission, and a representative from the Health and Human Services Department. 

Every other week, the committee breaks up into three groups, all of whom research different aspects of public safety on a national scale and on a local scale. On the weeks when the committee is not researching, they come together for public meetings. These public meetings are designed to discuss findings, compare ideas, and ask questions of one another. 

While the Reimagining Public Safety Committee is comprised of people who were appointed by Mayor Biss, any community member is welcome to attend meetings and make their voice heard. 

“I want Evanstonians to know one thing, which is [that] the safety committee exists and is open for business. So, if you care about this stuff, you can come to the meetings. They’re all public, [and] we are super open to having non-official members talk. It’s a conversation and we want to engage the public.”