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Law Enforcement Oversight?

How to improve communication between local law enforcement and citizens and prevent deadly use of force encounters?

Posted: Jun. 18, 2018 5:14 PM

CHICO, Calif. - How to improve communication between local law enforcement and citizens and prevent deadly use of force encounters?

That is the question a newly formed group hopes to find answers to.

Members of 'Concerned Citizens for Justice', say a series of high profile police-involved shooting incidents around the country and here at home motivated them to come together.

Individuals say they do not want to see more cases, like the shooting death of Stephon Clark in Sacramento by local police.

Nor, the recent officer-involved shooting incident with Butte County Sheriff's deputies in Durham, leaving one man dead.

And, they say the 2017 police shooting death in Chico of Desmond Phillips is still foremost on their minds.

Members want to work more closely with Butte County law enforcement to improve de-escalation and mental health training, improve community-oriented policing, develop ways to better support local officers and create a citizen oversight board.

“Citizens oversight job is not to check every detail of police operations but it is their job in a democracy to step forward and make sure that people are being policed appropriately. That there is not an excessive use of force and that the police know how to de-escalate, particularly with difficult people, that's our job as citizens,” said Margaret Swick.

Group members point to cases such as the officer-involved shooting last year in Chico of Tyler Rushing.

They applaud current de-escalation training the Chico police department currently undergoes, but believe more is necessary, especially as the community learns more about the prevalence of mental illness.

The community conversation about citizens' oversight of local law enforcement takes place Monday from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., at the Butte County Library, 1108 Sherman Ave., in Chico.

The public is invited to attend.

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