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Carbondale City Council endorses law enforcement, NAACP shared principles on policing
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Carbondale City Council endorses law enforcement, NAACP shared principles on policing

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CARBONDALE — Carbondale City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution adopting a set of shared values drafted by the state chapter of the NAACP and state law enforcement leaders.

City officials said they hope the 10 Shared Principles will establish a publicly understood standard of behavior for its officers.

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The 10 Shared Principles document was created in the aftermath of the 2014 death of Ferguson, Missouri resident Michael Brown after he was shot by a white police officer. The NAACP State Conference worked with law enforcement groups throughout the state to write the shared principles, which they say seek to find commonality and put first a goal of equal justice for all demographics.

Among the 10 principles are the beliefs that every life has value and every person should be treated with dignity and respect. It also calls for de-escalation training to be mandated for all departments in the state.

The document also supports diversity within law enforcement and rejects discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, color, nationality, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender, disability or familial status. The principles advocate for the development of relationships "between law enforcement and communities of color at the leadership level and street level" as "the keys to diminishing and eliminating racial tension."

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Carbondale officials on July 9 participated in an online forum in which the principles were presented and a panel discussion followed. City Manager Gary Williams said Tuesday’s resolution was making official the city’s commitment to the document. However, Williams said nothing in the shared principles is binding as far as their enforcement goes. He said it’s more a public proclamation of values.

“It’s an expectation of what we expect of our police staff,” he said. When asked if there were policies the city currently has on the books that might need to be revisited in light of adopting the 10 Shared Principles, Williams said he did not believe so.

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“I think it’s a step in the right direction for the city,” Linda Flowers, Carbondale Branch NAACP president, said of the resolution Tuesday. She said it will be a good tool to use when trying to hold police officers accountable when questions of bad conduct come up. She said the values in the Shared Principles are not just something that should sit in the chief’s office, but should find their way all the way down the chain of command.

“All of the other officers have to be on board with it because they are the ones out there in the community day to day,” Flowers said.

The official signing and presenting of the 10 Shared Principles will happen at 9 a.m. Thursday at Carbondale's Public Safety Center. 

isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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