On the right path toward better police-community relations.

Back “in the day,” after I had just been elected president of the Stark County NAACP, I received a late-night phone call from city of Canton Public Service.

Director Robert Fisher. As service director, Fisher asked me to file a lawsuit against his employer — and his mayor — because of the lack of minorities in the safety forces in Canton.

As odd as it appeared, it was always my thinking at that time that Bob and the mayor, Stanley Cmich, had come to the conclusion, as many cities had at that time, that they needed safety forces that mirrored the general population of the city. Their problem, I imagined, was that the police union and others would balk at the prospect of hiring more minorities.

Hence, if the city were forced to do so, under the provisions of a court-mandated consent decree, then they would have political justification for doing what they thought was the right thing: Hire more minorities.

I was familiar with the huge amount of criticism of the Canton Police Departm.. . Read More

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