Danville Police chief working to keep the peace, avoid Ferguson situation

DANVILLE (WSLS 10) – The Danville City Manager says the region’s demographics are similar to Ferguson, Missouri. In Danville’s case, there is a predominately white police department with about half of the population African-American. 

The police chief gave a six page report in front of nearly 20 people about tactics that they plan to use to make sure an incident like the one in Ferguson doesn’t occur in Danville.

Philip Broadfoot said in the past eight years about 4,400 people applied to the department, with almost 700 responding to a follow up letter. Just over 500 people passed the reading and physical fitness test. Out of that, 90 passed the background test.  Broadfoot said the reason the number drops so significantly is because people tend to not tell the truth when applying to join the department. 

Broadfoot said for 2015 he wants to work with the HR department more intensely and seek alternative ways to get more African Americans on staff. Currently, out of their 130 officers about 14 percent are black. 

“I hope for, in the long run, is that the police department and the community can co-exist, [and] understand each other,” Broadfoot said.

People who attended Tuesday night’s meeting said they felt it was a good starting point to make Danville a safer place. 

“I thought it was good. The dialogue is beginning because this could be the next Ferguson, this could be the next New York. And so it’s very important see, get in front of this,” said Darryl Wright, resident. 

The chief said other efforts they will take into action is the ‘appropriate use of force.’ He said there will be training that will help officers make better decisions while in the field.

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