Alliance aims to foster relationship between law enforcement and civilians

Alliance aims to foster relationship between law enforcement and civilians

Amarillo, TX (KFDA) - In an attempt to limit controversial issues with law enforcement, a local alliance has been formed among officers, deputies and community leaders.

The Community Alliance of Leaders and Law Enforcement (C.A.L.L.) is an attempt to establish more of a relationship between citizens and law enforcement, and act as a calming agent should a controversial issue arise.

Founder Alphonso Vaughn said this idea came to him a year ago in light of several national events involving police brutality, hostility and racism.

"Amarillo is not immune from any communities throughout this country," said Vaughn. "So let's address this prior to, God forbid that it would happen, but let's address it and try to contradict that from happening."

Several entities, including the Amarillo and Canyon Police Departments, Potter and Randall County Sheriff's Offices, several county officials and area pastors have been holding meetings on these issues.

"Really for us it's a chance to have a relationship with some very good community leaders in Amarillo," said Robert Taylor, APD Chief of Police. "These are leaders who are going to call things like they see them. There's no doubt about that. But at the same time they have an open mind and that's what we need, to have a dialogue between us and the community."

Amarillo Citizens for Open Government (ACOG) has been pushing for a similar program to ensure citizens are safe from possible police brutality.

Some ACOG members do not believe C.A.L.L. will make a difference on this issue.

"There are numerous cases that we can place on the table to say that with law enforcement, we have a problem in Amarillo," said B.F. Roberts, a member of ACOG.

This group argues a civilian oversight review board with elected members would be more effective than C.A.L.L.

"Anything that falls short of a real legal check and balance is not gonna work," said civil rights lawyer Jeff Blackburn, also a member of ACOG. "It never has worked, it never will work, it's not gonna work here."

C.A.L.L. members are confident that creating a dialogue with law enforcement will make a difference in the future.