Voice of the People: What do YOU think about the relationship between C-U police and the community at large?

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Zach Miller, Candidate for Champaign County Board District 9, Urbana:

You know, in my neighborhood we
d o n ’t really see the police that much. I
think that there may be some class issues
at work there…. [I]n an area that’s predominantly
populated by
professors and grad
students…, even if
we have a party or
something the
police don’t really
come by and hassle
us or anything like
that. But I hear stories
all the time from folks that live in
areas where folks are maybe a little more
p o o r, the property values may be a little
l o w e r, and there’s just police harrassment.
T h e r e ’s police pulling people over for stuff
[unnecessarily] and there’s just a lot of distrust
of the police.

David Sutton:

I think if they would welcome people
videotaping them – in fact if they were
videotaping themselves so that all of their
stops were [recorded] – especially if
something unexpected happens to them,
to record that the suspect drew a gun
which was completely
unexpected –
[that would help]. I
think they should
welcome that….
They should be
open about what
they do with people
and I think that
obviously the people who beat Rodney
King didn’t think they were being
watched and … if they had known that
there was this possibility [that it was
recorded] they might not have beat him
(they might have still beat him who
knows) but I think that people will behave
more genuinely toward the citizens of this
country – all of them – if they expect that
how they are treating people is always
being watched. And if they’re doing
things right, … then they shouldn’t worry.
They should welcome it because it protects
them from lawsuits and so forth
when somebody winds up with a broken
nose or limb and blames it on the police
and it really wasn’t their fault.

Alveta Henderson:

They racially profile everyone and I
am a white, 40-year-old woman that is
married to a black man and so therefore I
get pulled over just as much as a black
man or woman would…. Before I was
arrested in this town, I was pulled over for
the simple fact of having a black man in
the car. And once they realized that they
knew my husband,
then everytime that
they see me, they
think they have to
speak to me – ‘Hi
Mrs. Henderson.
How are you? How’s
your husband?’ and
always ‘What’re you
doing? Where’re you going?’ and it’s
none of their business. I’m not doing anything
illegal….Treat everybody fairly.
Whether you’re black, white, red, purple,
w h a t e v e r. I mean have consistency. . . .
Don’t just earmark anybody…. So as far
as the community I don’t have a clue right
now. All I know is that I’m angry, I’m
angry at the system and Champaign
County is very bad. … I’ve never lived in
Chicago but everybody that has that lives
down here now says Champaign police
department – Champaign County period –
is worse than Cook County.

Nancy Eleanor Laster, Champaign:

Well, maybe get out in the community
t h a t ’s the bad
neighborhood and
talk to them more.
See what they could
do to help some
people cause some
people may not be
as bad as [the
police] think they
are. Just because they’re hanging out on
the street or whatever doesn’t mean that
they’re bad people. Take some time.

Miranda O’Dell, Champaign:

The neighborhood [I lived in] before I
would say no, because it was mostly students
and everybody was always complaining
about parties
and the police
coming and giving
them a hard time.
Every person that
we’ve ever seen
pulled over it usually
happens to be
someone of a
minority status… . Not necessarily that I
see maybe a lot of blacks or anything, but
I do see a lot of people of Asian descent
pulled over.

Kruti Vyas, Champaign:

I don’t think there is a good relationship
at all with the
people in our comm
u n i t y. Just
because I mean,
one, you barely
even see cops
around unless it’s 2
AM in the morning
and they’re trying to
raid bars, but I personally think that the
Champaign police department kind of forgets
about the safety of campus and the
people on campus and are a little more
worried about just ticketing them for alcohol
and other problems.

Adam Yin:

A c t u a l l y, I just got pulled over a few
days ago and they seemed really nice.
Cause we made a wrong turn into a one
way street and we were a little tipsy but
they were like, ‘Oh
yeah, this is okay.
I t ’s okay, don’t
worry about it, it’s a
w a r n i n g , ’ you know.
And we were all
Asian, so… So far I
d i d n ’t have any
encounters, but I
w o u l d n ’t generalize that…. If the police
drive by don’t just be like ‘fuck the police’
or whatever. Cause they are here to help
you. … [T]hey don’t really like wanna just
catch anyone I guess. I don’t know, be
more cooperative, not you know, cause if
you’re nice to them I’m pretty sure they’re
gonna be nice to you.

Christopher Evans:

Depends on the neighborhood. In rural
areas, the sheriff’s department probably
have a good relationship. The business
community probably have a good relationship.
The police are often from rural areas
and the business community appreciates
protection from burglaries. In white neighborhoods,
they are accepted, with thewhite
youth probably liking them less because of
their type of carousing. The black community
can obviously speak for themselves. A
better measurement of how the relationship
is going with the police is to ask ourselves
a question: When a police squad car
appears in your area, do you feel like the
good guys are here, or do you feel scared
they will try to find out if they can arrest
you or write you some kind of ticket?

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