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During its centennial celebration, the NAACP has launched a new program, the "Rapid Response System," which enables people to file reports of alleged police misconduct through the use of their cell phones.

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.”

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Good if used responsibly...
By callmeroy on 7/14/2009 10:26:34 AM , Rating: 4
My perspective on this story is one who comes from an extended family full of law enforcement -- friends who are state troopers in Maryland and PA, cousin who is in Philadelphia SWAT, uncle with over 25 years with the Philadelphia Police Department now a detective in NJ over 10 years, other family members Camden, NJ Police - still other friends in the Marines, Coast Guard and Army.

I therefore have no shortage of on the job stories they all tell at BBQ's and other family gatherings through out each year.

The folks in my family and friends who are all in law enforcement are good, decent people. Upstanding citizens who deeply believe in their role as "to protect and serve".

I can tell you they are passionate about what they do -- I can only imagine that passion is needed when you do a job that you know puts you directly against folks who want to see you die.

I have to believe that some of you on these boards must know that not all law enforcement are the evil , corrupted sons of bitches that our culture is so fast and popular to make them out to be.

To be a good guy in a law enforcement job such as police is a task that regular everyday citizens can't possibly fathom. Imagine a job that you love to do with all your heart and you do it driven by the vision and goal of defending and protecting the innocent, that you know you will not hesitate to trade your life for another if that's what requires to safe an innocent child or adult -- even if that adult or child looks upon you with disgust due to the taint of your uniform that was brought on by others in your organization.

Imagine extreme scrutiny in every word your say to someone in the course of you doing your duty and especially everything you DO.

Imagine all this and then when a family member or loved one ask why the hell would someone put up with all that crap (for comparitively crappy pay in most cases) and they reply basically with "I love what I do".

So I just want some perspective out there before all the "all cops suck all cops are corrupt" kind of posts break out --- remember the good far out number the bad...and the good bleed for the protection of the innocent--- even when the innocent mock the cops, the cops will still die for them.

RE: Good if used responsibly...
By boobot on 7/14/2009 10:58:25 AM , Rating: 2
I finally got some time to post again. Agreed on the above. Many police departments have a program that will allow you to ride with an officer for one night. I recommend doing it! Put yourself in their shoes and see what they go through daily.

RE: Good if used responsibly...
By Donovan on 7/14/2009 11:42:48 AM , Rating: 4
For the record there are people here who do not think all police are evil (and, for that matter, also do not think all blacks are criminals). This topic is both race and law enforcement flame-bait, and I imagine many reasonable posters are staying out of it.

Police have the somewhat paradoxical role in society of enforcing our rights by selectively denying us our rights. While many of the protections we have under the law are objective, in practice the subjective view of a police officer can have a huge affect on whether our rights are preserved or denied. Even those of us who respect the work of the police have a certain amount of fear, both of meeting a dishonest police officer but also of meeting one who simply chooses not to believe us when we are innocent. There aren’t many left who still believe the old line: "You have nothing to worry about if you've done nothing wrong."

I think one of the biggest problems is that our own demands on the police are so contradictory. We want them to be vigilant in catching criminals but we also never want to find ourselves caught in the crosshairs of that vigilance. We all have to remember that there is a reason we protect the rights of all suspects; unfortunately our high principles are quickly abandoned whenever words are preceded by the magic incantation "The War On", such as "The War on Drugs" and "The War on Terror". Perhaps people would be less afraid of law enforcement if we all paid more attention to "The War on Due Process".

Maybe law enforcement can never live up to our standards...they do work so vital and carry so much authority that our standard is near perfection. Still, people should at least try to remember that we can be forgiving of mistakes without becoming soft on corruption. Police officers should get the same presumption of innocence we want them to use when dealing with us.

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