Police, community speak out about relationship between the two - WNEM TV 5

Police, community speak out about relationship between the two

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Police finally identified the officer, Darren Wilson, in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.
                   
Moments later they said Michael Brown was a suspect in a convenience store robbery just minutes before his confrontation with police, but the police chief confirmed the officer did not know Brown was a robbery suspect at the time.

Now many are wondering what could have been done to prevent Brown's death.

"More communities need to work together on the prevention of these types of things," said pastor Larry Camel.

Camel, founder of Parishioners on Patrol, said he understands this is no easy task and that's why part of his mission as a community leader is to teach kids exactly what to do if stopped by police. The goal is to avoid confrontations that end in death.

"So when you see one you know how to communicate," Camel said.

He said the same goes for police.

"One thing I like about Saginaw is they have community policing," Camel said.

Community policing launched earlier this year and it's goal, according to Sgt. Reggie Williams, is to ease tensions among residents and officers patrolling the streets. 

"We don't want anything to happen bad on either side," Williams said.

Williams tries to bring each side closer together by soliciting feedback on social media. Williams said he believes this type of engagement is directly responsible for the drastic drop in homicides and violent crimes in general. 

"We've had a relatively peaceful summer this year compared to last," Williams said.

Last year ended with 27 homicides, and there have been five so far this year.

Williams admits tragedy can't always be avoided, so if it does happen that relationship with the community becomes even more invaluable.

"Because if you have one, that would prevent further outburst like rioting, like what's happening in Ferguson," Williams said.

As for Camel, he said he's personally witnessed a major step forward in his community, but there is much more work to do.

"You have to change the culture of things which takes time," Camel said.

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