Group hopes ‘Code Green’ will help community relationship with Louisville police

Code Green initiative pushes improved relations between Louisville police, community

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A group of community members, Voices of Louisville, hope to see change in the community, especially in the relationship between police and the people they serve.

“It seems like instead of getting better, it’s getting worse -- especially when you pass 9th Street,” Bishop Dennis Lyons, president of Voices of Louisville, said.

Lyons said he feels there is a relationship disparity between police and the community in west Louisville.

“We began to look for ways that we can help the police become ‘Officer Friendly,’ but at the same time maintain law and order within our community,” Lyons said.

LMPD created a pamphlet about what to do when stopped by police in your car or in the street.

“It sets up certain rules and certain standards for us as citizens to operate by, but also it gives us our rights as citizens as far as the police is concerned,” Lyons said.

Lyons is using that pamphlet as a platform for a program he calls Code Green.

Code Green is a mutual understanding of showing respect between police and the person being pulled over during a traffic stop. It also explains what a citizen’s rights are.

Lyons started calling this Code Green a few years ago, but says it hasn’t caught on across the community. He’s hoping people will embrace the idea before tensions get worse.

“Hopefully we can get the police to do the same thing: to embrace it and use it as a partnership between us that some of these incidents that have happened in the past six months between the blacks and the police will subside,” Lyons said.

In September, Simmons College President Rev. Kevin Cosby and his wife were pulled over at 22nd and Muhammad Ali. Cosby’s daughter said the stop was racial profiling.

In August, 18-year-old Tae Ahn Lea was pulled over by LMPD for allegedly making a wide turn. When he called his mother and put her on speakerphone, an officer pulled him out of the car and put him in handcuffs.

Neither Cosby nor Lea were charged.

“[Police are] policing," Lyons said. "I’m with them, but they are not going as far as they could or should to try to resolve some of the fears and concerns we have in the community.”

Lyons would like all drivers to receive these pamphlets when they get their drivers license.

Lyons and the Voices of Louisville group met Tuesday night to discuss what more can be done to help ease the tensions in the community. They hope Code Green can help be a helpful tool for both citizens and police.

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