PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dr. Charles Gallager, Chair of the Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice Department at La Salle University addressed the state of relations between African-Americans and the police on the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown and the resulting unrest in Ferguson, Missouri saying more work needs to be done to ensure the safety of both minority citizens and the police.
Gallagher told Dom Giordano on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that the multiple episodes of highly publicized police shootings show there is still more to do in the year since Ferguson.
“I don’t believe so much has changed, unfortunately. Certainly we have more black citizens that are part of local governance. I think half the city council is now black, so people are represented. Before it was a black city controlled by white folks, so there are black faces in high places, as they say, but when you look at the nation as a whole, we had this shooting and we’ve had lots of other shootings since.”
He stated that cities must require the highest standards from every police officer in order to regain the trust of every sector of the community.
“We can’t have 95 percent of our police officers being great. We need all of them to be great because they have the power of authority, they have the power to use violence, they have the power of the gun. I train young men and women to be in law enforcement and these kids are great at La Salle. But all you need is one bad apple. This is the problem. We can’t be happy with 95 percent or 97 percent of our police officers being spectacular. When you have a gun, when you have the authority of the state to make arrests, to use violence, deadly force, we need to be batting 100 percent.”
Gallagher believes, ultimately, that police body cameras will go a long way in helping to curb the problem of unwarranted police killings.
“Lots of folks in the black community say this has been going on for decades and the only reason it’s changing is because now we have the power of the camera. I’m a big believer in body cameras for police officers. I think it’s for their own safety. I think it’s a form of policing the police. I think that it provides transparency. My guess is within five years, every police officer will be wearing cameras.”