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Galesburg NAACP Forum Addresses Concerns About Police

Dec 22, 2014

At least 50 people attended the forum at the Boys and Girls Club. 

Representatives from the city, Galesburg Police Department, and Knox County Sheriff’s Department also attended.

Galesburg NAACP chapter President Candy Webb hosted the forum, and told the crowd that biases come in all shapes and sizes.
Credit T.J. Carson

Alisha Hodge, a vice-president with the Galesburg NAACP chapter, helped gather written complaints from residents before the forum.

“A lot of complaints are just about people not being really sure why they’re being pulled over, or stopped by law enforcement.  What they appear to feel as their rights being violated,” Hodge said.

Hodge shared the story of a person pulled over by police for an expired sticker.  The driver and passenger were eventually removed from the vehicle, which was then searched.

She said another resident raised concerns about excessive force, and some people at the forum were unclear about the process for filing a complaint against an officer.

Galesburg Mayor John Pritchard responded to the criticism of the complaint process by saying he and city aldermen are also available to accept complaints.

People from a variety of backgrounds attended the forum.
Credit T.J. Carson

Knox County Sheriff David Clague said he was "troubled" by complaints from parents who worry about their children when they leave home and whether they will be stopped for no reason.

Clague said he would like to form a committee to address the concerns raised at the forum.

“(The committee would be) comprised of all nationalities, to sit down and talk.  Whether it’s monthly or bi-monthly or once a year.  I think it’s a good idea,” Clague said.

Clague said the committee would give police officers and the community insight as to why they react certain ways to certain situations.

Other solutions suggested at the meeting included creating neighborhood watch programs, teaching children to respect police, and having a human relations officer.