Bensalem Twp. police sign historic agreement with NAACP

BENSALEM TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The NAACP Bucks County and Bensalem Township Police Department have inked a historic agreement on Wednesday night.

"This will at least let the community know that we can talk to the police," said Karen Downer, president of the Bucks County NAACP.

Fred Harran, the director of public safety for the Bensalem Township Police Department says, "I hear a lot of times people don't want to come up to the police, make a complaint, they're afraid or uncomfortable. Now you have an organization that's tied in."

The agreement includes regular meetings between the two organizations and ensures regular training for officers to enhance interactions with all citizens, including people of color. Citizens can also file any complaints of police misconduct directly to the NAACP.

"As we talk about community policing, I do think that this is a step in that direction," Downer said.

Harran says, "As long as the person that's making the complaint is OK with it, because they have rights, if they want a spokesperson for them, I don't have a problem with it. There's nothing to hide here."

Those who came to see the signing agree.

Shani Jones of Bensalem said, "I support the police. I support Black Lives Matter. I'm a member of NAACP Bucks County. It's possible to have all those beliefs and I want to make sure people are treated equally and fairly."

Rose Jacobs of Bensalem said, "Particularly people who are not from America living in this country, that's a big thing. They're so afraid. So now there's a clear way to get assistance."

They also believe this can set a precedent for departments across the country.

Another key point of the agreement is recruitment. The two groups will work together to bring aboard a diverse group of new police officers, focusing on recruiting people who live in the township.
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