ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The recent crime spree is motivating the Rockford branch of the NAACP to reach out to the community and the local police.
The organization has launched its "Smart and Safe" campaign. The goal is to create a better partnership between police and the community. There are 4 components to this program: crime prevention and reduction, sentencing and court reform, eliminating employment barriers for formerly incarcerated people, and advancing effective law enforcement. Leaders of the group in Rockford say the only way to reduce violence is for the police and the community to work together, and that’s why the NAACP is on board with community style policing.
"The community has to collaborate with law enforcement to address these issues. The problem is not going to go away overnight. and the problem is us, there is no them its just us, we, we are the problem. So it's collaboration with folks who just want a better, safer community," says Lloyd Johnston II, president of the Rockford branch of the NAACP.
The NAACP has been handing out pamphlets “The 411 on the Five-O” to help people learn more about having positive interactions with officers. The group will be partnering with the Rockford School District next school year to bring the message of the initiative to local middle and high school students.