FREEPORT (WREX) — An elected group in Freeport hopes to improve equality in the community by putting city policies on the table.
The Social Justice Committee held a meeting Thursday night to brainstorm ideas to do better in Freeport.
"The idea is to look at all city services, our laws, our policies that impact any social, cultural or racial divide within our community," said Freeport Fire Chief Bradley Liggett.
Chief Liggett recommended the Social Justice Committee look deeper at adding a citizen review board for the city. He said no other city similar to Freeport has this kind of board but he said the U.S. Department of Justice offers large city examples for how it would work.
"We would decide the nature of the work that the citizen review board would do, the composition, what it would look like and whether it's advisory or legislative in nature," said Chief Liggett.
That board would keep a watchful eye on police practices and racial profiling. Those are topics Social Justice Committee Co-Chair Thedford Jackson is collecting data on from both the police and the community.
"As a committee we realize it's about educating. It's about getting some information out to the community," said Jackson. "Training as far as with the police officers, working with them as far as what does use of force look like from their training side of it."
Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller touched on minority recruitment for both the police and the fire department. She said the answer is to do better in marketing. But Jackson said it's going to take time to create change.
"No one has the magic portions to solve this so it's going to take a lot of those things to really sit down with the chief and his staff as well as the mayor and her staff and really try to hammer out what does it look like," said Jackson.
Identifying what works best to move the city forward.
Chief Liggett also announced the fire department's free two year internship program. He hopes more minorities will seek out that opportunity to guide them towards leadership in Freeport.