This year, the NAACP, established in New York City in 1909, celebrates its centennial. As celebrations are under way, new crime-fighting programs are being developed and implemented by the association. One of these programs, the “Rapid Response System,” allows for people to use their cell phones in order to report any incidents of alleged police misconduct. The new system was officially unveiled Monday, as part of the annual convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in New York City.
Instant texts, e-mails and video reports each exist as acceptable mediums to file a report of alleged police misconduct, which takes three steps to complete. A person must first take photos or record video on their camera phone of the incident. Next, the person must send the photos or video to the NAACP, which can be done through a Web browser, or by uploading the file(s) through a computer. Finally, a short form will need to be filled out regarding the incident.
According to Benjamin Jealous, the NAACP’s president and CEO, information gathered from various reports will be used differently; while the NAACP may choose to use certain footage/information instantly, other reports may be entered into a comprehensive database for trending and use in more long-term illustrations.
As far as the extensive number of people who have access to the new program, Jealous explained: "Technology has basically put a video camera in the pocket of every child in this country over the age of 12 and most grown-ups, as well."
The NAACP’s vice president of advocacy and research, Monique Morris, offered another advantage of the new system. "What this database will provide is a more accurate account in real time of what's happening in our communities," said Morris.
In an NAACP press release, the Rapid Response System was listed as part of a wider Criminal Justice strategy, known as “Smart and Safe,” to be launched this year.
"We know that most of police officers around the nation are excellent public servants,” Jealous explained in the NAACP release. “But the few who violate people's rights are often not held accountable. We hope to improve the relationship between our community and law enforcement officers -- which is the best way to create the trust needed for police to effectively solve crimes.”