South GA cops talk about public trust - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

South GA cops talk about public trust

Chief Charlie Moore Chief Charlie Moore
Sgt. Ken Washington Sgt. Ken Washington
LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - As the nation is captivated by recent fatal encounters between civilians and police, Chief Charles Moore with the Leesburg Police Department knows how important it is for their officers to have a good relationship with residents.

"We depend on the public's eyes," he said. "And the public needs to trust the police department for us to have a good working relationship."

Chief Moore, like many others, hope recent incidents across the country don't impact how people view their local agencies.

"What might happen at one agency doesn't mean it's going to happen everywhere else. Everybody's got SOP's you go by, policies you go by. There are certain steps you take before you do another step to arrest somebody."

"Unfortunately in every town, every situation, you have someone that's going to break the rules and regulations. But it's very important for people to not get caught up in a situation like Ferguson," said Sgt. Ken Washington of the Sylvester Police Department. Washington is a three-decade police veteran.

President Obama addressed the nation after the decision was announced not to indict a New York City Police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

"Beyond the specific issue that has to be addressed -- making sure that people have confidence that police, and law enforcement, and prosecutors are serving everybody equally."

Chief Moore says in addition to holding community events, he believes in transparency.

"I have an open door relationship with the people and the public. If you got a problem, call me, come see me. I put my business cards up front. I'll listen to your story, but I'm also going to listen to the officer's story before I'm going to make a decision on anything."

He also stresses accountability and believes body cameras will help keep both parties honest.

'"Body cameras would help out a lot. Because I have people call in and say an officer did this or they might have done something else. I pull the video up and look at it and tell them and let them come look if they want to. And it's not really waht they say it is."

The Leesburg Police Department doesn't have body cameras.

Chief Moore says they're hopeful grants will be offered to small agencies like theirs, so they can get buy some.

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