As the city of Ferguson continues recover following a turbulent year that revealed proven racial biases within the criminal justice system, local police have outlined a new plan that aims to restore trust between law enforcement officials and area residents.
Under the new initiative, which was unveiled at a community meeting over the weekend, officers will be assigned to specific neighborhoods where they will walk around on foot and speak directly with residents, giving them the opportunity to build relationships.
“We want to get the community more involved in our efforts to develop a better relationship,” interim police chief Andre Anderson said at the meeting. “We know we can’t do it without the community.”
Though both Black and White residents at the meeting had a largely positive response to the program, some were hesitant about the effectiveness of the new initiative.
Various people pointed out that a number of officers have continued to treat residents aggressively since the August 2014 death of Michael Brown. Anderson said that officers were receiving additional training and admitted that it might take time to see tangible results.
“Culture takes time to change,” Anderson said. “It’s slow. Training is going to help develop better relationships with officers.”