Hundreds of residents turned out for a community dialog Thursday night at Southeast High School to discuss what can be done to improve relations between police and the rest of the community.
Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow says while rioting in Ferguson, Missouri is outside the norm, his department is working with the NAACP to build bridges.
“Any time we get together to talk about police relations and community relations is a good thing. These meetings are one way to keep that dialog going,” says Winslow.
The city’s police department has been criticized with pulling over more black males than white but Winslow’s says that isn’t the case.
The chief had his entire command staff and several detectives and uniformed officers available to meet with the public.
NAACP Springfield Chapter President Teresa Haley says she approached Winslow and says the community has to do more to stem crime rates, school drop-out numbers, and misperceptions that she says exist between young black males and the police department.
“I’d like to see a larger of minorities on the police department. But, as you notice, there are no elected politicians on the panel. It is not about politics is about people,” says Haley.
Haley says her group will organize a series of these discussions in the coming months but will not have one until after the November elections.