Ferguson Mayor addresses residents' concerns over police force

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by Ruella Rouf / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 19 at 11:56 PM

FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Ten days after the deadly shooting of Michael Brown, residents in Ferguson are demanding changes and more accountability from the police department.

Mayor James Knowles said that he and Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson have been meeting with community members and leaders regarding the days ahead.

The uproar following Brown’s death has been a sentiment many people in Ferguson have felt for years many feel the police department is distancing themselves from the community. The community’s lack of trust and anger is evident through peaceful and non-peaceful protests.

“[There] are a lot of mixed feelings out there, [and] people are out there for different reasons. For the past week we’ve been listening and talking, but doing a lot of listening,” said Knowles.

It has been well documented that the police vehicle Officer Darren Wilson was driving did not have a dash cam installed. However, at the time of Brown’s shooting the Ferguson Police Department did have several dash cams purchased but it claims it did not have the money to install them.

“So now we are of course in a rush to get those installed. Part of the problem is that you have to take those vehicles out of service for a period of time. Right now, it’s all hands on deck,” said Knowles.

Community members said they want more African American officers on the force, and Knowles said he is working with mayors of surrounding municipalities to recruit more African American officers. Residents also said the officers should be Ferguson residents.

“We have a program to incentivize people to live here and work here. That program has not increased the stipend for the last 14 or 15 years. So we are talking about increasing the stipend,” said Knowles.

Additionally, Knowles said he is working with local organizations to raise funds to install the dash cams inside police vehicles. There is no estimated timeline for the installation.

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