Monday, July 6, 2009

NAACP Launches a New-Media National "Rapid Response System" to Help Citizens Report Police Misconduct

Part of sweeping new Civil Rights initiative on crime and safety

An innovative national program to help fight crime in American cities and towns will be unveiled Monday, July 13th at the NAACP Centennial Convention in New York City.

The initiative includes a bold new online effort, the NAACP Rapid Response System (RRS); a quick, effective way for citizens to report instances of police misconduct, and to help public safety officials move beyond the “tough on crime” policies that have lost their effectiveness.

The Rapid Response System will be available starting July 6, through the NAACP website (www.naacp.org). The user-friendly online RRS form will allow residents to send instant texts, emails, or video reports of police abuse to the association via cell phone.

Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, said the initiative is part of a wider Criminal Justice strategy called "Smart and Safe,” that the NAACP will be launching during its Centennial Year.

“Nationwide, more than 26,000 citizen complaints of police officer use of force were filed with state and local law enforcement agencies in 2002. However, because many incidents are not reported, this number does not capture the full magnitude of the problem,” Jealous said.

“Research has shown that there are many barriers to reporting incidents of police misconduct, including intimidation at police departments and a lack of trust in the integrity of the system, among other reasons. This breakdown leads to an absence of public safety and a deterioration of the quality of life in many communities of color. But public safety is a civil and a human right; and so we want a more accurate count of these incidents,” Jealous said.

"We know that most of police officers around the nation are excellent public servants. But the few who violate people's rights are often not held accountable. We hope to improve the relationship between our community and law enforcement officers -- which is the best way to create the trust needed for police to effectively solve crimes," Jealous said.

The Rapid Response System will be demonstrated for attendees at the NAACP Centennial Convention July 11-16th at the New York Hilton. More information on the full Convention schedule is available at www.naacp.org.


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