Longview police, activists finding ways to build, understand relationship between cops, public

Longview police, activists finding ways to build, understand relationship between cops, public

LONGVIEW (KYTX) - When police officers get a thank you, officer Kristie Brian says it's a good feeling.

"Here at Longview, we really try to reach out to the community and work with the community, and that just kind of proves that, yeah, people do pay attention," Brian says.

People also pay attention to negative reports about police. The events surrounding Saturday's officer-involved shooting of Ferguson, Missouri, unarmed teen Michael Brown have put a spotlight on the relationship between police and the public, especially people of color.

Branden Johnson is president of Longview's NAACP Chapter.

"I'm not so sure the whole country is engaged with what happened to Mike Brown when we should be," Johnson says.

Johnson says this week's riots and police offensives have taken attention away from the incidents leading to Brown's death.

He is in support the Michael Brown Law, a grassroots petition for new laws requiring recorded audio and video of officers at all times when they're on patrol.

Brian says the department is looking into acquiring the equipment to bring mobile recording here to Longview patrol officers.

"We actually try to stay at the cutting edge of technology. We have cameras are in all of our cars. Our mics are mic'd up so that they can record away from the car," Brian says.

Johnson is also organizing a series called Life in Longview, to educate young people on the justice system.

"We train them with local law enforcement, with attorneys, with people who have had the negative experiences with law enforcement, to teach the correct way to handle themselves with any law enforcement individual," says Johnson.

Brian says social media is the best way to keep the public informed, especially after recent officer-involved shootings in Longview.

"Social media has changed the face of how you that get information out there. Everything is so in the moment and now that we really have to work everyday to keep up on that and stay up on social media just so that we don't get behind and people lose faith," says Brian.


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