Kinston launches team to improve officer, community relations

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KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The city of Kinston is stepping up its efforts to bridge the gap between the community and officers.

The mayor, police and residents came together in 2014 for a meeting after a series of violent crimes. At the meeting, Mayor B.J. Murphy announced a five-point plan to help improve safety and community relations.

Since then, officers, police and the community have unofficially come together to make the city safer.

Now, with a new police chief, an official partnership is underway.

The Kinston Community Relations team is made up of citizens, law enforcement, youth and clergy.

Kinston police Chief Alonzo Jaynes introduced the idea in December. He said he wants to get law enforcement officers out in the community.

One of the major parts of the program is the Citizen Response Forum. It is a place for people to provide comments or concerns anonymously to the police department.

“This way we will be a stand-alone entity,” said Chris Suggs, Kinston Teens CEO.  “…They (people) can bring their ideas and their comments to us, and we can actually present them to the chief to think of ways to make a positive and applicable solution that is beneficial to everybody involved.”

The team will meet the third Thursday every month. Anyone interested can reach out to Kinston Teens, NAACP or the police department.

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