PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Community leaders met Monday night to find ways to improve relations between police officers and the public. The city’s Police Advisory Commission serves as a civilian review board to the action of the police department and they are hoping more residents become engaged with their efforts.
Five miles from police headquarters, a meeting took place in the basement of a West Philadelphia church where the police department was the focus.
It has been a hectic several months for Philadelphia police. There has been the ongoing investigation over racist and sexist social media posts by some officers, followed by the sudden resignation of the city’s police commissioner amid a separate discrimination lawsuit against the department.
“People are so concerned given the latest scandals that they can’t trust the police officer in front of them,” said Police Advisory Commission Executive Director Hans Menos.
This has left some in the community asking for more accountability.
“I agree that transparency is super important,” one woman said.
But when Eyewitness News turned up to the Police Advisory Commission’s public meeting, only a handful of residents were there. Most in the crowd were fellow civic leaders.
The commission meets once a month to review issues and educate the community about topics at hand, like use of force, bias and transparency.
“This is one mechanism of engagement. They don’t need to be at our meetings, trust me I wish they would come, but if they engage with us in whatever way they feel comfortable, trust me I’d be happy,” Menos said.
“I think that if they were informed of it, you’d have had a few more — maybe not many, but they would come,” one woman said.
One person who makes it a point to attend these meetings is Inspector Jacqueline Bailey-Davis.
“I think it’s a way to authentically engage with individuals too, and let them know that we do care. I’m a citizen as well. I wasn’t always a police officer,” she said.
The PAC does post their meeting times online and on social media.