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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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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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