Community policing- real conversations to build bridges
True Vine Missionary Baptist Church hosts discussion between Alpha Phi Alpha, local officials, and law enforcement
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The True Vine Missionary Baptist Church was host to a detailed and informative conversation between the local Alpha Phi Alpha Chapter and several political leaders and law enforcement representatives about the community policing policies in regard to African Americans.
“Honest discussions. That’s what we actually have. Serious conversations. Crucial conversations. We must have that,” said Alexandria mayor Jeff Hall.
The critical discussions that occurred Thursday night included police reform, de-escalation tactics, civilian oversight, and racial profiling.
Ron Smith, the area director for Alpha Phi Alpha asked specific questions regarding these topics to members such as Alexandria mayor Jeff Hall, District Attorney Phillip Terrell, Public Safety Commissioner Daryl Terry, and APD Chief Jerrod King.
King said, “You have to have these discussions. You have to get that input. You have to have that dialogue, and maybe when we have more of this, I think there will be less issues in the future. I think it’s a great program that they put on.”
The theme of this event, which was shared on Facebook, was “Community Policing: Real Conversations to Build Bridges.” These important conversations are essential to mend the relationships between law enforcement and the citizens within the community.
Smith, who helped organize this event, said, “The existence of a bridge for African Americans is non-existent, and so we’re trying to reach out and say look, this is what we need in our community. We need to know who the police officers are. You need to know who we are. Our young men don’t need to be afraid.”
King added on to this by saying, “We’re not going to be successful if we don’t have a true partnership with the community. It’s not my police department. It’s the citizen’s. It’s not the mayor’s. It’s the citizen’s.”
King advised other officers to actually know the zones that they’re assigned to and to solve the problems going on instead of just filing a report.
Mayor Hall also made some suggestions saying that if anyone in the community has an issue, to speak up. He said the only way change can happen over time is if the citizens become vocal.
The mayor hopes that other groups and organizations plan meetings like this within the community to help spread more awareness.
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