Coalition members Jan Powers and Kierstan Belle outlined the goals of the Adams County Community Policing Coalition (ACCPC) on Monday night at the borough council meeting.
Powers said the coalition, made up of over a dozen local organizations, hoped to better local communities by creating more transparency between community and police.
ACCPC encourages local police forces to post policies and procedures on their websites, set up informal community-police meetings, establish a citizens’ advisory board, and work toward a more diverse staff.
ACCPC also encourages agencies to provide training about implicit bias, to report resolution of citizen complaints, and to work together with social workers and mental health care providers as partners with the police.
“We want the community to know and we want the borough council to know that that ACCPC is here to bridge the gap between community members and the police department,” said Belle. “I feel very comfortable approaching our police chief and any of our police officers and we want our community to feel the same way. We want to develop that relationship and build upon it.”
Belle said informal meetings with police representations were already occurring and Gettysburg Police Chief Robert Glenny said the meetings had been productive. “We’ve had a pretty good turnout with the sheriff’s office, Cumberland Township, the state police, and the national park service,” he said.
Mayor Frealing said she was “very impressed with people at that meeting” and with last August’s National Night Out event. Frealing said she was interested in including the Adams County Library System in future events.
Powers said the following organizations were part of the coalition:
Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice — interested in implicit bias training.
Democracy for America – calmly presenting concerns to the mayor and city council.
Manos Unidas – helping law enforcement understand how ID cards work and why immigrants may not have them.
Gettysburg for Gun Sense – supporting education and training of police to deal with mental health issues.
Gettysburg Rising – supporting police-community relationships.
Mediation Services of Adams County – creating a trust network to ease local tensions among ethnic groups protesters and counter-protesters.
Adams County Human Relations Council – setting up community forums so that members of the community and police can get to know each other.
YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County – here to help with any and all efforts .
Voices United for Gettysburg – calling on the police department to be transparent, fair, accountable, and objective in its policing.
Christ Lutheran Church – the need to discuss with the police reconciliation and positive relations with all community groups especially training around race relationships.
St. James Church – developing a community police relationship that is positive and enables working together for the common good.