Rockford- The closed meeting was held in this YWMCA conference room Stateline police departments gathering here to discuss a sensitive subject, racial bias in law enforcement.
A topic that activists have been vocal about in the wake of recent deadly police shootings, Madison Crime Prevention Officer Lester Moore came here to offer strategies for building better relationships with minority communities.
Moore explains "most of it is just about, in my opinion, is developing good relationships with the community and building trust and having the people in the community understand that you're a person just like they are."
That includes using officers more effectively in at-risk neighborhoods and doing interventions before crimes happen.
Police Chief Chet Epperson says "getting officers out of the car, not
arresting individuals but having conversations with someone as opposed to just
being in car. That what they're doing in
A strategy that not only builds relationships, but recruits residents in the fight against crime.
Officer Moore explains "a lot of people talk to us now because you know they feel they can trust us. They feel like these folks care about us. They care about our community they care about what goes on and I'm going to trust this person and I'm going to tell them what's going on."
Chief Epperson concludes "at the end of the day we have to hear our communities that we serve. What they say. You know what's the gap? We need to continually build that trust with the citizens that we serve."