To the editor,
The Community Police Relations Committee has been styled a "watchdog" group by this paper. Unfortunately, this adjective is misleading. The committee does not propose to directly monitor police activity nor does it intend to seek the redress of specific grievances between the police and individuals. The committee's purpose is to gather comments and reports from everyone in the community so an informed public discussion can take place.
An independent agency is crucial to an accurate picture of police-community relations because people who have experienced difficulties with the police are very often too intimidated to work through official channels.
The citizens speaking at last week's public forum were chosen because they were representative of the type of problems many people have reported. The committee seeks to bring this information before the public so that everyone can consider the policies and management of the force and make their will known in these matters through their elected officials. This is your basic Democracy 101.
As has been stated several times, the committee has no intention to focus on individual police officers, so whoever else may be concerned about "rogue cops," that is not the concern of the committee. The committee welcomes all reports and comments.