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President Granger described the goals of this evening, and the basic status of the planned purchase of a replacement armored vehicle, with a delivery planned for this summer. I want to be clear that I believe we in government collectively did not air enough about plans and engage with questions and concerns publicly early enough, as we should have, and we’re making up time now.

Besides public meetings last week and tonight, three more meetings are planned: one by the Board of Public Safety, the civilian board overseeing the police department, on Tuesday the 27th at 5pm. And two open meetings at City Hall for discussion and Q & A with public officials on Tuesday the 27th at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday March 1st at Noon.

As I’ve said, the more transparent our police, the more our community knows about our department, the better off we all are. And vice versa. Transparency and accountability are critical. We fell short on those scores. Tonight and similar meetings are part of fixing that, and we take all public concerns very seriously.

Our world should have fewer of these vehicles and better gun control and less violence and less racism and more justice, and more health care and mental illness treatment. That’s the outlook I bring to City Hall every day. As we work toward those big goals, in the meantime, we as a community must support protection from violence, for our residents, students, visitors, and of course our first responders, and also we must strengthen the critical trust and relationship between our public safety protectors and our community as a whole.

That’s what this dialogue is about – how to enhance both physical safety and mutual trust. And ultimately, how to do what’s right for the people of Bloomington? Tonight, I’m here to listen and to take notes. I’ll be seated in the audience right over there and I’ll be here afterwards if you want to talk to me.

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