Peoria law enforcement, NAACP to sign 10 principles to improve policing in community

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Tuesday, The NAACP Peoria Branch, Peoria Police Department, and the Peoria County Sheriff Department signed 10 shared principles aiming to improve policing in the community.

Peoria NAACP president Marvin Hightower said the relationship between police and community is in need of improvement.

“As you know, the relationship between the police and the community has been fractured,” Hightower said.

The Peoria Police Department, Peoria County Sheriff’s Office, and Peoria Branch of the NAACP have agreed to work in unison to improve that relationship. Tuesday, the three signed a list of 10 shared principles.

“This is a vow between us working together and standing together with our communities,” said Chief Eric Echevarria, Peoria Police Department.

Within the principles are values including rejecting discrimination, promoting de-escalation training, and promoting community policing.

The list also calls for diversity in hiring, and Echevarria said PPD will work to make words become action.

“Looking at our HBCU’s, looking at our Hispanic serving institutions, recruiting for women, but really looking at getting the best recruits for the City of Peoria,” Echevarria said.

Ronda Guyton, superintendent of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office added that accountability is another crucial component.

“As we have officers going into training, what we’re going to be doing is teaching them exactly what we expect them to do,” Guyton said.

Hightower said everyone will have a role in improving policing and the relationship officers have with the community.

“The difference between a moment and a movement is sacrifice, so we all have to sacrifice and do our part to build the relationship,” Hightower said.

Tuesday, Echevarria also signed the 10 shared principles into his department’s policy. He said a copy of it will be sent to every Peoria officer and they must review it and sign it as well.

In 2018, the Illinois Chapter of the NAACP and the Illinois Association of Police Chiefs also signed the 10 shared principles, in a moment some called historic.

The 10 Shared Principles are listed below:

  1. We value the life of every person and consider life to be of the highest value.
  2. All persons should be treated with dignity and respect.
  3. We reject discrimination toward any person that is based on race, ethnicity, religion, color,
    nationality, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or familial status.
  4. We endorse the six pillars in the report of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century
    Policing. The first pillar is to build and rebuild trust through procedural justice, transparency,
    accountability, and honest recognition of past and present obstacles.
  5. We endorse the four pillars of procedural justice, which are fairness, voice, transparency, and
    impartiality.
  6. We endorse the values inherent in community policing, which includes community
    partnerships involving law enforcement, engagement of police officers with residents outside of
    interaction specific to enforcement of laws, and problem-solving that is collaborative, not one
    sided.
  7. We believe that developing strong ongoing relationships between law enforcement and
    communities of color at the leadership level and street level will be the keys to diminishing and
    eliminating racial tension.
  8. We believe that law enforcement and community leaders have a mutual responsibility to
    encourage all citizens to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the law to assist them in
    their interactions with law enforcement officers.
  9. We support diversity in police departments and in the law enforcement profession. Law
    enforcement and communities have a mutual responsibility and should work together to make a
    concerted effort to recruit diverse police departments.
  10. We believe de-escalation training should be required to ensure the safety of community
    members and officers. We endorse using de-escalation tactics to reduce the potential for
    confrontations that endanger law enforcement officers and community members; and the
    principle that human life should be taken only as a last resort.

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