TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – THPD Chief Shawn Keen responded to concerns over Live PD during Monday’s meeting of the Greater Terre Haute branch of the NAACP.
At a January meeting of the NAACP, Terre Haute community members had the opportunity to discuss their concerns about Live PD. It came days after members of the NAACP wrote a letter to Mayor Duke Bennett and THPD Chief Shawn Keen asking the city to reconsider its contract for the show.
“I’ve been here for 43 years, and I see that negative things are happening as far as what people think about Terre Haute,” said Sylvester Edwards, Terre Haute NAACP president.
Keen said when he recommended the contract for the show to be signed, there were several benefits he believed would come from his department participating, one of those being recruitment. A total of 167 applicants for THPD have been received since Feb. 1; that’s compared to 100 at this point last year.
“That puts on pace to far exceed what we’ve ever gotten in the past. Now I can’t directly attribute that, you’d have to look into a lot more things to see the reasoning but I’m at least hopeful,” Keen said.
Keen also said the show has allowed for THPD to learn from their mistakes.
One improvement Keen hopes to make is the way younger officers communicate with members of the community.
“You may talk to people more casually in your generation, and that’s okay for some of them, ” he said. “But you serve all generations, so we want to make sure we’re being respectful of everyone when we communicate with the public.”
Following Monday’s meeting, NAACP members and Keen said they look forward to a working relationship moving forward.
“It’s not one of things I’m going to be closed minded about, I’ll listen,” Keen said.
“It had nothing to do with the police department, it had something to do with A&E and how they made people feel violated,” Edwards said.
The City of Terre Haute does collect a fee every week THPD is featured on Live PD.
Keen said he’d like to see that money help pay for officer overtime, a possible online reporting system, and training.
On Wednesday, THPD will also hear a presentation on body cameras. This is an early stage of this process according to Keen.