Evesham NJ (WTXF) Evesham Police are giving the community a closer look at how they police. Friday night members of the NAACP and faith-based groups are riding a long with police to see how they respond to calls.
It's part of an effort to improve relations between police and the community, in this case, the African American community. Crystal Charley is the President of the Southern Burlington County Branch of the NAACP. Months ago they started holding forums with area police.
"Both sides are on edge creating an unsafe dynamic in our communities. I think it's important that we have this dialogue to ensure residents that they're being protected and let law enforcement know it's okay to do their job. But of course we want accountability," said Crystal Charley.
Chief Christopher Chew and his department went over the department's community policing programs and the innovative ways they're being transparent with the people they protect and serve.
Paul Tanner-Kennedy is a pastor who attended.
"There's tension and some of the tension is founded on facts," said Pastor Kennedy. He's concerned about striking a balance with between the Black Lives Matter campaign but not ignoring his belief that all lives matter.
"Police officers they are men and women who also want to perform their task and go home to their loved ones and be safe. In the same token also when they're performing their duties it's important that the community feels that our loved ones will also be able to go home and be safe," he said.
Chief Chew says his department is fortunate to not have experienced crimes that pit communities against police and he wants to stay ahead of it.
"That has ripple effect that could come this way. I know our community members are watching what is going on out there and they're going to start believing and developing their own belief of police so we constantly have to be ahead of the curve," said Chief Chew.