YWCA, police departments team up to arm people with info about police interactions

CBS 21

The YWCA of Harrisburg is arming people with information about how to respond if stopped by a police officer in light of the recent violence across the nation.

"It gives the community members a better understanding of the role and the authority of police in the community," Swatara Township Police Chief Jason Umberger said.

The information, published in a new brochure and online, is available through the YWCA.

With violence by and against police officers is becoming an all too-common scene across the country the YWCA of Harrisburg and some Dauphin County police officers are combating the tragedies in their own way, authoring the brochure titled "What To Do When Stopped By The Police."

"They care about the communities they serve and they are laying their lives on the line for their fellow citizens," Umberger said.

The easy-to-read manual comes in five languages, laying out the rights and responsibilities of both the person being questioned and the officers.

The officers involved in the project agreed the interactions are a two-way street.

"Respect begets respect," said Harrisburg Police Lieutenant Kelly Wetzel.

The brochure highlights a few scenarios, including what to do during a traffic stop. The best advice is to keep calm, have your hands visible and be respectful, they said.

"Comply first and then complain later if you feel that you have a grievance," Umberger said.

The pamphlet even lays out the steps for making a complaint against an officer. The officers say the goal for the men and women in uniform is simple -- to serve and protect.

"We must commit ourselves to better results within the criminal justice system," Wetzel said.

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