GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI)-A Starkville couple says local police practice racial profiling. They spoke out at Tuesday night’s Board of Alderman meeting. That got us to thinking about the relationships between police and the people they protect.
It is the sworn duty of every police officer to protect and serve every law abiding citizen in their community. I spoke with several local leaders about the fine line they must walk to effectively do their jobs.
Police officers are here to arrest bad guys and keep the rest of us safe. Many see them as heros, but others have a very hard time putting their trust in law enforcement. West Point Chief Tim Brinkley knows that some people have strong reasons for not cooperating.
“People fear for their lives and they fear for their safety and the safety of their families. It’s not really a matter of whether or not they trust that the information that’s shared will remain confidential,” says Chief Tim Brinkley.
Chief Tim Brinkley believes a community’s relationship with local police departments are *should be is* important. That’s why programs are set up to help locals feel like they are being heard.
“We have neighborhood watch programs where we encourage the public to come forward. We have crime stoppers is another avenue, they can remain anonymous,” says Chief Brinkley.
Although distrust can come on a person by person basis, African American communities and police officials often seem at odds. Kabir Karriem, a Columbus City Councilman, says it stems from history.
“Particularly here in the South for a long period of time the police was used as a tool of oppression and because of those methods used by the police in the past we have distrusted today,” says Kabir Karriem.
Bridging the gap between police officers and communities can be difficult, but Karriem believes in those who protect our communities.
“We do have a good law enforcement officers. We do have good police departments throughout this country,” says Councilman Karriem.
“We need the community. No police agency can be effective without the support and the active participants of the community that it polices,” says Chief Brinkley.
Other programs that allow locals to improve their relationship with law enforcement are the “Night out on Crime” and the Policeman’s ball.