Community-Police Relations (CPR) project is a groundbreaking partnership between citizens and law enforcement officers that is challenging both groups to overcome their differences and distrust to work together on the deepest problems of our community.
Our mission is to create a safe place for community and law enforcement to openly discuss barriers that prevent us from building a positive relationship. These discussions will lead up to recommendations for healthier community-police relations.
What’s Happening Now?
Building on over a year of intensive work among dedicated community members and law enforcement officers, in recent months, the Community-Police Relations group has taken their trust and relationship-building process to the streets, convening public forums in neighborhoods across the city. There, community members and law enforcement officers are coming together to engage in honest dialogue, and encouraging us all to develop a deeper understanding of the issues that are obstacles to a healthy relationship between law enforcement officers and the communities in which they live and serve. Already, forums have been held in Frayser, Orange Mound, Soulsville, and most recently, at Union Valley Baptist Church in South Memphis, and at Hickory Hill Community Center.
Hickory Hill CPR Forum
On Monday, September 30th, over sixty people from the Hickory Hill neighborhood gathered at the Hickory Hill Community Center and shared personal stories that reminded everyone that every person has a story and wants to be respected. With the help of improvisational theatre group, Playback Memphis, the stories told were brought to life before our very eyes.
Reflection from one forum participant:
Community members in our small break-out group poured forth their stories and questions. Law enforcement attendees were willing to offer explanations or suggestions when necessary, but they were also willing to listen and to acknowledge problems that need further attention. And it was lovely that community members also explicitly noted their positive experiences with law enforcement and what they appreciate about them.
All the people in our small group wanted to know how they can be involved in the project and contribute to the ongoing dialogue, as well as to the creation of a plan that will outline solutions. The forum provided the space for honest dialogue that was at times intense but still respectful and that left people feeling excited about what we can do when we come together.
Our thanks to Hickory Hill Community Center director, Mrs. Margaret Flicker and her staff for their hard work in planning the forum.
South Memphis CPR Forum
At the South Memphis forum, held at Union Valley Baptist Church, participants felt enlightened by the discussion, saying:
“Playback Memphis gave me a chance to see how others feel when they are hurt”.
“I didn’t know others felt the way I do about calling 911 or the non-emergency number”.
“I was stopped for speeding- yes I deserved the ticket- but I appreciate the Officer who had to give me the ticket we respected me – I believe if you want respect you need to give respect, we have good officers and bad officers just like we have good people and people who are going to do wrong.”
Our thanks to Dr. Kneeland for providing meeting space for the South Memphis CPR forum.
A note of thanks from Mrs. Hazel Burks on behalf of The Praise Temple Church in South Memphis, where CPR was invited to participate in a special event.
A VERY SPECIAL THANKS–SIMPLY THE BEST
Melissa, on behalf of Pastor William Burks, The Praise Temple Church and the South Memphis Community, I would like to thank you for arranging for members from the Community Police Relations group to attend our very first Community Safety function. We are definitely trying to train and help equip people in this neighborhood.
In addition to having the Best Police Officers in the world (Det. Price and Officer Colbert) we also had representatives from the Red Cross and FBI to join with your volunteers from the Community Police Relations group.
To see Commissioner Randolph, take time out of his busy schedule along with the CPR officers, made me proud to be a Memphian. Our people go above and beyond to help people be prepared and informed.
Keep up the excellent work.
The next CPR forum will be the LGBTQ Community Forum on Tuesday, November 19th. For details or any other information about the Community-Police Relations project, please contact:
Melissa Miller-Monie, CPR Organizing Coordinator
Phone: , Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The CPR Team- Bridging the Gap between Community and Police Relations: Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, Community Leaders, Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, Playback Memphis, and a third party facilitator.