Amid protests, Brookhaven police launch ‘Transparency Project’

A Brookhaven police cruiser.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

A Brookhaven police cruiser.

The Brookhaven Police Department is launching a new online outreach effort aimed at educating the public about how the agency operates.

The “Brookhaven Police Transparency Project” comes amid nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, coupled with calls to reform and defund police departments, reinvesting public funds into social services.

In a video statement posted online, Brookhaven police Chief Gary Yandura said the department is “disgusted” with the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“We stand with our communities of color whose distrust in police will only grow deeper as a result,” Yandura said.

As a way to combat that rising distrust, Yandura said, Brookhaven police plan to use its social media pages to provide more information about the department to the public over the next several days.

First, on Monday, Brookhaven police posted the structure and demographics of the organization.

Of the department’s 101 police officers and civilian employees, about three-quarters are male and a quarter are female. About 53% identify as white, 23% as black or African American, 19% as Hispanic, 3% Asian and 1% Pacific Islander.

Brookhaven police also posted a lengthy explanation of how their body-worn cameras work and the department's policies on how they are used.

The social media campaign will also feature information about the programs available to the community like the Citizens Academy, officers’ training on de-escalation and crisis intervention, and the department’s use-of-force procedures.

The department will also provide links to its annual reports, published since 2015.

Moving forward, the agency hopes to "provide a platform to exchange ideas with our community members." The chief invited residents to visit to learn more and submit comments.

“The recent event in Minneapolis, and others like it around our nation, raises questions about how public safety operates,” Yandura said. “These are important questions, that we are more than happy to answer.”

The ongoing conversations about racism and the role of police prompted Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to Atlanta’s mayor to establish a commission to examine and oversee the Atlanta Police Department’s use-of-force policies.

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