Public forum held in Harrisburg to discuss ways to improve police-community relations

HARRISBURG -- A public forum was held Wednesday night at Hamilton Health Center in Harrisburg to discuss ways to improve police-community relations.

Among those in attendance were Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo and Harrisburg Police Commissioner Thomas Carter.

Organizers said that the conversation is necessary after several recent incidents of alleged misconduct and unprofessionalism in the city involving police.

They're looking for a city ordinance that establishes a citizen-led board, an idea some officials support.

"We're really meant to be complimentary to the police department, not adversarial, said Brandon Flood, president of Bro2Go Inc. "I think folks would feel more comfortable with that independent, objective, third-party that they can either file complaints with or lodge any other grievances with."

For the citizen-led board to happen, Mayor Eric Papenfuse said that the city council would need to to review current ordinance, putting language in about representation and then activating the board.

"I think it's a good thing," Mayor Papenfuse said. "I think it's a proactive solution. I think it will promote good communication between the police department and the community. The more dialogue we have, the better. So, I see an advisory board being an important step in building police-community relations."

The city council returns to session at the end of August.

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