Activists seek movement on police reform bills
Police reform advocates are calling for swift action by state lawmakers before the end of the session this month.
Advocates are pushing hard for revamping Delaware’s approach to policing, emphasizing changes to the state’s Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).
The family members of Lymond Moses also spoke about police reform. Moses was shot and killed by two New Castle County Police officers in January.
His sister Lakeisha Nix says greater transparency in police records is the first step towards building more trust between the police and the communities they serve.
“I don’t understand too much of why there’s such a pause on police reform and why the responsibility is solely put on the communities that these police enter into — and generally only enter into these communities or interact with the people in the communities when someone’s in trouble,” she said.
Nix says changing the culture of police and shifting to a community based perspective will build bonds between police and the communities they serve to avoid future tragedies.
Wilmington City Councilmember Chris Johnson says increasing transparency is the first step towards trust.
“So not saying this is going to solve everything but this is going to solve a big piece of it,” Johnson said. “Cause if I know one thing; having worked almost in every community in the city, that there’s lack of trust between community and police.”
Kailyn Richards, policy coordinator for the Delaware Center for Justice says the focus is on three police reform bills making their way through the legislature now.
One would make major changes to the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights, opening up police misconduct records to the public for the first time in 25 years.
Richards says the way it works now prevents the whole story about police misconduct from being told and protects bad cops from facing punishment.
She adds the next push will seek greater protections for whistleblowers in law enforcement, and strengthening Civilian Review Boards, such as the one formed by Wilmington City Council last year.
Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.