By: Siobhan Riley, FOX13Memphis.com
Updated: June 16, 2020 - 6:15 PM
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Two years ago, the West Memphis Police Department hired Tawana Bailey to lead its community outreach department. Last summer, officers started the Park and Walk Program, which allows police to park their cars and walk around several neighborhoods passing out a list of safety tips. “Just having that connection between citizens and law enforcement, someone just basically being able to bridge the gap is very important especially in the African American community,” Bailey said. “I think oftentimes they look for a face, someone they can connect with.”
In January, we told you Assistant Police Chief Robert Langston said the city saw a reduction in violent crimes when it started new initiatives.
“Two years ago, they might not have called us with that tip, but now since we interact with the community more, we’re out in the community they’re more likely to give us information that helps us solve crime,” said Robert Langston, West Memphis Police. West Memphis Police said their outreach programs are key to stopping police brutality. This comes after two black men were killed by officers in Minneapolis and Atlanta less than three weeks apart. The West Memphis Police Department added resource officers to schools, which is another way they’re building trust between students, their parents and law enforcement.
“They’re happy to see our officers in a different light,” Langston said. “It hasn’t always been like that, but they really enjoy the fact that our officers are getting out, especially interacting with our children.”