Chambersburg PD to launch advisory group to increase trust, communication with community

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CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Chambersburg Police Department is launching a new chief’s advisory group. The goal is to increase trust and communication with the community.

The plan is for the group to get together once a month. Members are looking forward to the first meeting in April.

“We have to do more than just talk about it,” said Barry Williams, a Chambersburg resident. “We have to be able to do something about it to make an impact. If we want things to change, we have to become elbow and elbow with people who are like us, who aren’t like us.”

Williams is joining the group to be a role model to his three sons.

He’s lived in Chambersburg for 15 years, and met the chief at a Black Lives Matter rally.

“I want to support the community as well as the police department,” said Williams.

Chambersburg Police Chief Ron Camacho says protests made this project even more of a priority than it was before.

A steering committee helped him through the recruitment and interview process.

Forty people applied for the group. Nine were chosen – Diversity was a must.

“It’s important nowadays to have another group help me as I navigate some of these turbulent waters that we are now in, that’s called policing,” said Camacho.

The group will advise the chief on how to handle certain issues and inform him about others he may not be aware of.

“In order to for me to make the best decision possible, I need to get different opinions,” said Camacho.

Educating members on policies so they can then share that information with the community is also key.

“We don’t want to divulge too much information on an investigation so that the bad guy can know what we have and don’t have against him,” said Camacho.

The chief says this isn’t about rapid reform, but he’s open to meaningful change.

Williams looks forward to an increased understanding between police and those they serve.

“Being honest, open and truthful about what is what and that means having some uncomfortable conversations so we can build relationships, so we can truly partner,” said Williams.

In addition to the chief, lieutenants and the mayor will be at the meetings Other officers may be brought in depending on the topic of conversation, like those who specialize in investigations, community policing or recruitment.

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