NAACP hosts event to teach community about rights and how to engage with law enforcement
Community members and police officers came together, both to learn about their rights and how to better engage with one another in hopes to be proactive and make Chattanooga a better place.
"Prevention is the best thing we can do for any community," said Dr. Elenora Woods, NAACP Chattanooga Chapter President.
Dr. Woods says they're looking out for all citizens and law enforcement. "If people knew what their rights were, and if the officers and the community engaged because they both knew what their rights were, then we wouldn't see a lot of the things we see," said Woods.
Carlton Mayers, a criminal justice specialist for the NAACP National Chapter says too often people don't know their rights and give them up too quickly. "You want to make sure you protect yourself so that anything that they're doing doesn't now become your issue," said Mayers. "That's regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, that's just citizens of this country."
You have the right to remain silent and the right to deny a search without probable cause, but Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher says there's more to it. "Hand in hand with your rights comes necessity to know your obligations too," said Fletcher. Meaning knowing how to engage with an officer. Dr. Woods says that's why they're trying to work with each the police department and not against it. "Working together we should have a better outcome in terms of engaging in law enforcement, that's what it's really all about," said Fletcher.
And also having a great place to call home. "What we want is the same thing, we want our community to be and feel safe in our streets, neighborhoods and in our home," said Chief Fletcher.
Dr. Woods says they hope to continue to move Chattanooga forward with police body cameras and police data collection in hopes to keep everyone accountable.