Charitable foundation joins forces with SLMPD for better accountability

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 11:55 PM

(KMOV) --   On Wednesday, the St. Louis Metro Police Department is teaming up with the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation to form a “Community Accountability Commission.”

Some blame the police for the lack of transparency and communication; others say it’s a community problem.

"Some among the African American community felt the police department had no love for the African American community and that's wrong,” said Johnson.

He has been active in north St. Louis for decades, trying to solve problems.

At his foundation, he told News 4’s Sharon Reed the “Community Accountability Commission” is a great first step in making sure the lines of communication are open.

"We are going to have the homicide detectives coming into the foundation here to talk to the individual families about losing loved ones. Give them updates on the status of the case and show they have some compassion about the community,” Johnson said.

This move may ruffle a few feathers, according to Johnson, but Chief Sam Dotson is on board with the plan.

Johnson said officers need to know their job is not just 9-5. Officers need to be in the community building relationships with residents.

“I’d love to see officers going and shaking the kids’ hands and being a part of their lives.  I grew up with that... Police officers knowing you and you knowing them,” Johnson said.

That he said will open the lines of communication and this communication will not just hold police accountable.

“In our community we have this ridiculous thought that don't snitch don't tell because you are soft,” Johnson said. Residents know who’s committing many of the crimes but won’t talk to police.

“Now if you have 20 or 30 people standing there and police come to you and you say you didn't see anything we can't hold the police accountable we have to hold the community accountable too,” Johnson said.

Johnson says detectives sharing updates with the families of victims who prove police care and are accountable to the community. There were also counselors on hand to help the families who lost loved ones deal with their grief.

 

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