York County police chiefs lined up for questioning at Crispus Attucks Community Center in York Tuesday night. It was an attempt to connect police to the people they serve and protect, amidst national controversy about the violence and unrest in Ferguson, MO.
The York NAACP hosted the forum and police took questions for more than three hours. The questions centered on the use of non-lethal versus lethal force and showed concerns about police. People said they were happy to have a dialogue, and hoped for more in the future.
“There’s a Ferguson in every state, and when it’s all said and done, we want to be more preventive,” says Jamiel Alexander of York. “And rest in peace Michael Brown, it’s sad that this situation happened and it’s a national spotlight, but it’s one of those necessary evils.”
The chiefs discussed the possiblity of using body cameras in the future, which they said would increase accountability, and de-escalation training for high-stress incidents.
“This may be the beginning of a process that as we go froward, can really expand and can really benefit law enforcement,” says Springettsbury Police Chief Thomas Hyers. “It can really benefit the local community, and we’re looking for some good things to come out of this.”