Earlier this month, police chiefs representing 10 local police departments signed a community engagement plan with the Ambler Branch of the NAACP.
From the plan:
The purpose of this document is to enhance police – community relations by sharing insights through forward thinking, open dialogue, mutual respect, in the spirit of cooperation and support. Therefore, as all the parties have been identified, we stand united against any discrimination or bias that might occur in the communities the Ambler Branch serves. We stand united to address the impact of public distrust when officers are not aware of explicit or implicit biases. We stand united to be equally received and responded to when our communities reach out to our jurisdiction police departments.
The plan states that its goal is to strengthen relations between the police and the community and deliver confidence to the public that they are being served in their best interest. To achieve this, the plan lays out 11 objectives:
- Raising awareness of the characteristics of perceived implicit bias among police leaders and officers.
- Supporting policies that are in place to limit the impact of bias.
- Executing community conversations that will transform relationships between police and the community.
- Review and discuss relevant data collection as a means of assessing and/or evaluating potential biases in policing.
- A commitment to regular meetings and open dialogue between the Ambler NAACP and Police Department leadership in our jurisdiction.
- Both parties will work together to ensure that police officers receive regular training that enhances their ability to have effective, respectful, and peaceful interactions with all citizens, including Black residents.
- Both parties agree to work together to encourage and assist residents, especially Black residents, to consider serving the community by becoming a police officer with the Police Department
- A broader process for intake of any complaints of police misconduct, including the ability of residents to report such complaints to the Ambler Branch of the NAACP.
- Increased transparency regarding the dissemination of information and the disposition of police misconduct investigations, including reporting outcomes to the Ambler Branch of the NAACP per case by case basis. The extent of the disposition will be in accordance with any standards set forth by law and/or the police departments’ collective bargaining agreement(s).
- Each police department agrees to meet with the Ambler Branch of the NAACP on a quarterly basis, or as necessary in the event of emergent situations requiring more immediate attention (timeframe subject to change ie. due to holidays or previous engagements).
- Each Police Department in the Ambler Branch’s jurisdiction will implement or continue to utilize the HUB program, the Bridge Program, or similar type of diversionary program, for those residents who may benefit more from an alternative program that prevents them from entering the criminal justice system.
The police department represented in signing the document were Borough of Ambler, Lower Gwynedd Township, Upper Dublin Township, Whitpain Township, Lansdale Borough, Hatfield Township, Montgomery Township, North Wales Borough, Towamencin Township, and Upper Gwynedd Township. These are the communities that fall within the Ambler Branch of the NAACP’s territory.
Photo: Ambler Branch of NAACP