Memphis Police Aim To Improve Community Relations

Memphis Police Aim To Improve Community Relations

After plenty of negative attention in recent months, the Memphis Police Department is looking for an image change. Now there's a grassroots effort to give the department a little CPR.
MEMPHIS, TN—A grass roots community group is giving much needed "CPR" to improve relationships between law enforcement and the public. The group is called "Community Police Relations" and it launched more than a year ago. The group has community meetings with folks in the neighborhood and police officers to allow everyone to express the positives and negatives of their relationship with law enforcement.

“Some of the concerns we have is not being well respected by officers,” said a CPR member Coleman Thompson.

“We want to be able to talk to police about treating everyone with dignity and respect when they go about doing their jobs,” said a member of the Tennessee Equality Project Anne Gullick.

“We cannot reconcile without having a relationship,” said the CPR coordinator Melissa Miller Monie.
“There has to be an understanding of the perception that the community has about the police department," said Memphis Police Deputy Anthony Berryhill.

Since the creation of CPR things are improving, for the first time everyone is seeing each other in the same light.

“The police department they want to go home just like I do after I leave work,” said Thompson. “We’re all human."

“I learned to see police officers as humans something I couldn’t do before based on my bad experiences with police,” said a member of Latino Memphis Gio Lopez.

“We did come to the realization that we are all people, we as police officers are also members of the community,” said Deputy Berryhill.

But the work on both sides is far from over, “I think there is a lot of suspicion and apprehension in our community when there is perception from the outside coming in to start new initiatives that’s why it’s important to reach those people on the ground,” said a Mid-South Peace Justice and CPR member Brad Watkins.

There will be six more community meetings in the following months. The first one is tomorrow Saturday July 27, 2013 at Union Grove Church 2285 Frayser Blvd. It starts at noon and everyone is invited.
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