Burlington Township, NJ (WTXF) - Statistics on police and community relations are shocking and clearly divided by race. Nearly 60% of white Americans have confidence in the police but that number drops to less than 30% for African Americans. Regardless of your background, the numbers highlight a problem and today Bill Anderson spoke to officers who recognize it and in some small way are trying to change it.
"It shows that we're human beings and we like to get to associate with people. We're not just here to write tickets and arrest people," Officer Anthony Senni said.
Burlington Township police are interacting with the community. They're talking to young people and there's absolutely nothing wrong.
"Community policing is big, I'm a big advocate of it, our department is a big advocate of it. We're here to give out free shaved ice to kids," Officer Senni explained.
All day Patrolman Anthony Senni and the Burlington Township Police drove around in a Kona Ice truck stopping in neighborhoods and several parks giving away free water ice. It's a simple thing but they believe being known in the neighborhoods you patrol is necessary.
"The big part of the community resource bureau is to show that we're not bad guys we're here for the community that's the ultimate goal," Senni said.
They want to establish positive interactions with neighbors and an excuse to just talk to people. Parents and grandparents appreciated the concern for how the next generation will view the police.
"They feel like they're their buddies, I know when we were younger we were afraid of the police so this is a really great way to connect," one person said.
No one including the officers believed that free shaved ice is the cure all for conflicts between the police and the community but it could be one more way to open the dialogue.
"You can come up and talk to us. Don't be afraid we're human beings and like to show that we're here for the community," Officer Senni said.