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Commission For Police Reform And Racial Justice Submits Recommendations To Mayor

Ella Abbott/WBOI News

Following a little more than eight months of committee meetings, Fort Wayne’s Commission on Police Reform and Racial Justice submitted its recommendations to Mayor Tom Henry Tuesday morning.

Henry formed the committee in the month following racial justice demonstrations in downtown Fort Wayne last May, which took place after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and led to violent clashes between residents and city police. The goal of the committee is largely in its name: how to reform local policing while achieving racial justice.

The committee has outlined three areas of importance going forward: race relations, communication, and departmental transparency, with the end goal of “how to strengthen the community’s trust in Fort Wayne’s Police Department.”

An overarching theme of the summary is less red tape. Meaning, each of the aforementioned focus areas include more civilian staff with budgetary support, on the Board of Public Safety and within the department itself. It also emphasizes conduct reconciliation and acknowledgement dialogue stemming from last May’s clashes once civil and criminal litigation is finished.

Attention was also given to transparency within the police department, particularly with regard to the recruitment process and implementation of body cameras for officers; the latter has been included in the city budget and will likely be implemented by 2022.

The committee has requested 45 days for Henry to provide an “official response and framework,” and hopes these recommendations will lead to “accountability, transparency, and healing.” You can find the executive summary, full report and assorted meetings of the committee since last summer on the commission website.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered. He currently hosts Morning Edition.
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