The head of the Louisiana NAACP spoke before the House Judiciary Committee to provide tips on how law enforcement and the public can work better together. Ernest Johnson says there needs to be more interactive relationships between police officers and the community. He suggests having these officers be very familiar with everyone in the area they’re patrolling.

“A police officer should be required to attend a church in the precinct once a month, without the uniform, in plain clothes, to become familiar with the community.”
Johnson also advises elected officials should host more town hall meetings where police officers attend in plain clothes. He says a culture change needs to be made when officers are addressing people in tricky situations with the public.

“But if I don’t know him and I believe he’s aggressive and I go in and I’m aggressive, then it escalates and then you get a killing. Whereas it should be deescalating but how to we deescalate?”

The House Judiciary Committee wrapped up two days of hearings on interaction between law enforcement and citizens. Chairman Katrina Jackson plans to hold more meetings to come up with a universal community policing policy. Johnson says right now there is no policy where officers become involved as part of the community.

“I don’t think it would cost any money, but I do think it requires policy to change the way policing is done in certain communities.”