New effort to improve relations with communities of color and police in Bucks County underway

A new effort is underway in Bucks County to improve relations, and open dialogue, between police and residents, especially with people of color.

"The film draws a sharp point on this issue. There is a fractured relationship between police departments in the United States and the African American community," Falls Township Police Chief Nelson Whitney said.

That is why Chief Whitney has had each of his officers view the award-winning documentary film, "Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. Is the Answer" and he insists on holding screenings at schools and community events.

"It’s eye-opening and it breaks the ice for officers to talk to the community about this," Chief Whitney added.

"I had been racially profiled many, many times in my life. While I was driving, while I was walking, shopping, while I was hanging out with my friends," Aj Ali said.

Filmmaker Aj Ali spoke with FOX 29’s JoAnn Pileggi about upcoming screenings in Bucks County and about a recent mural project that coincides with his message of opening dialogue between police and communities of color.

"Finger pointing is not working, blaming is not working. Not talking with each other is not working, hating each other is not working," Ali said.

Ali’s film has been viewed by hundreds of police departments across the country and nearly every police department in Bucks County. The recent mural project is a collaboration of police and members of the community.

"We’ve seen when young people are willing to paint next to police officers and there’s storytelling and they’re working together and trust is being built," mural project coordinator Barbara Simmons said.

Other murals are planned to help bring attention to the message of the film. A screening is planned for Sunday in Yardley and another at Pennsbury High School in a few weeks.