PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - In the wake of rising tensions in America, and the tragedy in Dallas, leaders in Pearl River County would like to be "proactive." That's why a round-table discussion was held in Poplarville Tuesday, to talk about community relations and law enforcement.
"Certainly this is a dark time for our nation, as far as the divides we see. The racial divides. The police/community divides," said Pearl River County Supervisor Donald Hart.
That's why Hart and the NAACP organized the gathering. Much of the discussion with law enforcers focused on the do's and don't's of traffic stops.
"As far as what they can go to help us, cooperate. If you come in contact with an officer, let him do his job. Cooperate with him. And he should always treat you the way he wants to be treated," said Sheriff David Allison.
"Attitude can dictate how that stop goes. If that officer stops a violator and he's showing respect to that violator, lots of times he's going to get that respect back," added Picayune Police Chief Bryan Dawsey.
Supervisor Hart told the group that there are real questions and concerns, even some fears among young African-American men, when it comes to getting pulled over by police.
"How do you get your driver's license when both hands have to be seen? I mean, what needs to be said, or what needs to be done," asked Picayune City Council Member Larry Breland.
"If he knows where you're reaching and why you're reaching there, he should be watching you, one, just for his own safety, as an officer safety concern. Make sure there's nothing there that's going to harm him," said Shane Tucker, Chief Deputy for the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department.
The NAACP has developed a list: "10 Rules of Survival if Stopped by the Police." They want law enforcement to review it, before sharing with the community.
"Whatever we can do, collectively, we can put our heads together and show first of all that we stand in solidarity with one another. And that we know that the police is not our enemy," said Rev. Jimmy Richardson with the Pearl River County NAACP.
Picayune Police Chief Bryan Dawsey said the 2013 purchase of "body cameras" was a major improvement. He said the cameras make it easier to monitor the actions of officers, and investigate any complaints from citizens.