LEWISTON — A final list of recommendations from the city’s Equity and Diversity Committee asks the city to add a new human resources position, increase community engagement and community policing efforts, and improve services for vulnerable populations.

The 12-member committee unanimously adopted the recommendations Wednesday, capping several months of work that began with the formation of the committee in July.

The list of roughly a dozen recommendations will go to the City Council next month for consideration, along with additional information from city staff on potential budgetary impacts.

Mayor Mark Cayer created the ad hoc committee as part of a City Council resolution on policing that came on the heels of local and nationwide protests over the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Cayer said Thursday that while “critical national issues” brought the discussion to the forefront, the committee’s focus was inward, on making Lewiston “a welcoming community for everyone.”

“My concern as mayor is making Lewiston more welcoming and inclusive,” he said. “I think this is a big step for our community.”


If ultimately funded, the human resources position would be charged with “developing a city workforce representative of the demographics of the city; advancing equitable policies, training, practices and procedures; and ensuring that the city delivers services in an equitable and inclusive manner.”

The Human Resources department would also be asked to issue an annual public report on diversity in the city’s workforce, including information on staff promotions and diversity of management or supervisory positions.

The recommendations also urge the Police Department to increase community engagement efforts and “embrace community policing throughout the department,” rather than just a standalone unit. The proposal calls for co-facilitating focus groups for residents in areas with high crime rates and involving the community in developing procedures for new initiatives, like the use of body cameras.

It recommends the city “develop and co-facilitate a series of informal community conversations on police interaction with (black, Indigenous and people of color) communities focusing on topics related to bias, racism and community policing.”

In a separate section, the recommendations state the Police Department should establish “policies and procedures that consider the specific and unique circumstances when working with members of vulnerable populations within the community,” including LGBTQ members of the community and those struggling with mental illness and substance use.

The report also states “more comprehensive demographic and outcome data on force, restraints, and interactions with the public should be collected and analyzed in order to proactively identify, prevent, and eliminate instances of bias-based profiling.”


Police Chief Brian O’Malley said Thursday that he supports the addition of the human resources position, calling it “long overdue,” and that he supports many of the other recommendations.

“This position would allow the police and all city departments to be more proactive in our approach to a fair and equitable workplace and work performance,” he said. “I am in favor of increasing community engagement and getting public comment on all city services that are provided to the community.”

Cayer and several of the committee members commended O’Malley for doing “an incredible amount of work” on the committee, including pulling together data and discussing department policies.

“Anytime the Police Department can be more transparent with the community it is a positive interaction,” he said.

During Wednesday’s meeting, City Administrator Denis D’Auteuil said city staff is “comfortable” with bringing all the recommendations forward. He estimates the committee will present the recommendations to the council Jan. 26.

After Cayer’s initial rollout of the committee, the city’s police patrol union issued a statement taking issue with the committee’s makeup. They argued a member of the union should have been included. Two other members of law enforcement who are Lewiston residents, including a former Lewiston police officer, served on the committee.


The council approved funding for police body cameras in October after the patrol union pressured the city to speed up its original timeline for acquiring them.

Cayer said he invited the union to take part and either attend committee meetings or watch them. He said he believes the recommendations are “going in a direction to better our community,” and were drafted by a “balanced and diverse group.”

He said the committee, which he appointed, was “confronted with really challenging discussions” that will directly effect the lives of residents and employees.

City Councilor Safiya Khalid, who introduced the initial council resolution on policing, said the committee’s end result represented a long journey from the Black Lives Matter protests in Lewiston earlier this year. She said of all the recommendations, she will “fight for” the human resources position during council discussions.

Cayer said he believes most of the recommendations will have a low budgetary impact, but said the new position and more training will cost money. The city does not have a salary estimate for the human resources position.

City Councilors Luke Jensen and Stephanie Gelinas also served on the committee, which was chaired by Ayesha Hall, social emotional learning and equity resource coordinator at Lewiston Public Schools.

The recommendations also push for the city to continue the equity and diversity talks through work on the “City Spirit Council,” which was established in 2018 to build awareness, leadership and solutions to community concerns regarding social justice and equity throughout the Lewiston and Auburn communities.

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