Program in Ferguson aims to increase trust between police and residents


( – A new program is being launched in Ferguson with the goal of breaking down barriers and increasing trust between police officers and the citizens who live there.

They program, which kicked off on Saturday, is a series of meetings aimed to calm the clash between officers and the people they serve.

“We can solve crime problems and order maintenance problems and neighborhood problems very early on by doing prevention,” said Peter Bellmio, a consultant hired to work with the city of Ferguson. Bellmio says he’s done this work in larger cities with even larger problems and Ferguson is ready for a change.

“Right now, this is action,” he said. “This is about making plans of action and putting actions into place. But in order for the plan to move forward, Bellmio says there has to be teamwork. Teams of officers will undergo training before being assigned to work with residents and businesses in a specific area of a community. The ultimate goal is to build positive relationships.

“I think the police need to do more and I do think the community needs to do more,” said Interim Ferguson Police Chief Andre Andersen. “But what we need more is a collaboration that helps build better relationships.”

Right now, there is no set number of meetings for the new program or how often they will be held.

Copyright 2015 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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