Rockford Police partnered with the Illinois National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NCAAP) to host a World Cafe event. It’s an effort to build trust between law enforcement and it’s diverse community.
“We all want the same thing. It’s just how we get there,” said Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea. “If I have a problem in my house, I will deal with it. But most of the time I have found in my thirty plus years, it’s a lot of times more miscommunication that leads to mistrust.”
Tuesday’s discussion centered around the ’10 Shared Principles’ crafted by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and Illinois NCAAP. The list addresses items like valuing the life of every person, treating all people with dignity and respect to the rejection of discrimination.
“If police chiefs want to say that we have made some mistakes and we’re going to move forward,” said NAACP Criminal Justice Chair Robert Moore. “I think that’s the process of beginning the healing process. We encourage that.”
Attendees believe more crime would be solved if residents and police worked better together, but add the relationship has become stronger in recent years.
“There wasn’t no trust at all,” said Rockford resident Anthony Stevens. “It has improved a whole lot better. We got good officers out here but they can’t do it by themselves.”
Dorothy Reddic says she’s been a victim of police brutality and wanted the opportunity to address her mistrust at Tuesday’s event.
“I worked with them for many years professionally and I had the utmost trust but now I live in fear,” said Reddic.
Reddic says she’s glad she was a part of the discussion but adds there’s a long road to recover open wounds between police and minorities.
“I’m open to hearing and perhaps, maybe if I have the opportunity, to engage with the chief.”