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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

URI to host Select Commission public forum
Commission to address police recruitment, certification, & training

KINGSTON, R.I. – April 17, 2003-- The University of Rhode Island will host a forum on the issues of police recruitment, certification, assessment, and training on Tuesday, April 29 at 6 p.m. Organized by the statewide Select Commission on Race and Police-Community Relations, the forum will be held in the Hardge Forum of URI’s Multicultural Center, located at 74 Lower College Rd. on URI’s Kingston campus.

"...Rhode Island needs to make changes in how law enforcement officers are assessed, certified and trained..."
Dr. Bernard LaFayette
"Our study has led us to conclude that Rhode Island needs to make changes in how law enforcement officers are assessed, certified and trained in order for our state to make lasting progress--both in terms of how race is perceived and in terms of police-community relations," said Dr. Bernard LaFayette, chair of the Select Commission and distinguished scholar-in-residence at the University of Rhode Island.

The Commission was formed shortly after the death of Providence Police Sgt. Cornel Young Jr. in January 2000 to understand the tragedy and its aftermath and more importantly, to prevent unnecessary deadly encounters between police and citizens.

The Commission has worked closely with leaders of Rhode Island law enforcement and citizens to find solutions to problems that persist in police-community relations. The Commission completed in-depth evaluation of the law enforcement infrastructure statewide.

The search for solutions included state and municipal law enforcement agencies and officers, police unions, elected and appointed officials, civic and community service organizations as well as citizens from virtually every group and neighborhood within the state. What is more, with help from federal officials, experts from around the country, and from law enforcement leaders in cities and states large and small (as well as several foreign countries), the Commission was able to identify promising "best practices" that appear to work in other states.

"The reason why the Select Commission is having the forum is to tell the public what remains to be done to prevent more tragedies," LaFayette said.

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