Three-year program aims to foster police-citizen relationship

Three-year program aims to foster police-citizen relationship
Charleston Police are responding to a four-car crash in West Ashley. (Source: AP)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston City Council approved a three-year project with the Charleston Police Department Tuesday night to improve police and community relations.

The Illumination Project was a year-long initiative to find out what people in the community want from their police department and also how to strengthen relationships with people from all walks of life in the Charleston community.

The project began in March and the police department has held listening sessions to learn people's hopes, concerns, and plans on building long-lasting relationships.

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said the project allowed them to come up with a strategic plan including five goals to meet the success they hope to see in the community.

  • Goal 1: Develop better understanding between citizens and police of different cultures, backgrounds and experiences to build mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Goal 2: Build a mutually respectful, trusting relationship between citizens and police.
  • Goal 3: Develop and implement a training curriculum to enhance citizen and police understand through policies and procedures.
  • Goal 4: Develop and use practices to improve citizen and police relationships through policies and procedures.
  • Goal 5: Expand the concept of community-oriented policing in all segments of our community.

Along with the five goals, 86 strategies were identified to improve the citizen-police relationship. Charleston Police Chief Mullen said getting to know people in the community is important.

"Now the police officers have a better opportunity to realize what citizens are feeling when they're having encounters or living in a community with crime and the citizens understand what the police officer is going through when they respond to that car in a dark alley or walk up to a car with two or three people and don't know what they're encountering," Mullen said.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All Rights Reserved.