St. Louis. Oklahoma City. Minneapolis.
Three cities. Geographically apart. Could be on dozens of lists that would make their citizens proud…
All three have had police involved shootings that resulted in the death of the person shot.
These three cities are not alone.
Santa Fe, NM, Springfield, OR, Culpeper, VA, Arlington, TX, Clay, AL….
According to a Washington Post report, 554 individuals have died at the hands of Police in America, this year alone.
While many instances the Police faced an armed suspect, there are recent cases like Minneapolis, where the one shot wasn’t armed.
You would think that with statistics like this, many in America would not trust the Police…
Wouldn’t want anything to do with them.
A poll taken by Gallup back in October of 2016 says you would be wrong.
That poll says that 76%; that’s three in four of Americans, say they have “a great deal” of respect for the police in their area.
How do you think that happens?
If you listen to Decatur Chief of Police Nate Allen, it’s done by “building trust, one person at a time.”
Chief Allen recognizes that there are communities in the City that won’t come forward and talk to the Police. The Latino community is one. Parts of the African-American community is another.
When asked why, the Chief replied that a lot of it has to do with fear. “That’s fear on both sides,” he said. “There’s several things that play a role as to why there’s not a lot of interaction.”
One way to combat that sense of fear… that distrust… is to open the lines of communication, said Allen. “We need to assure folks that we are there to help.” And in order to do that, Decatur Police Department is re-instituting the Neighborhood Watch program in the City. DPD’s Safety Education unit is helping organize the program with community leaders and holding meetings to get the public involved. According to Chief Allen, one such meeting; with District Two Councilwoman Kristi Hill has already been held. The next meeting will be Tuesday, August 1st at the Turner-Surles Center at 7:00pm
Another way to “get out and into the communities” is the National Night Out on August 1st ; which is geared toward promoting good interactions between the citizens and the Police. There won’t be a central location; said Allen, instead there will be several locations in various communities throughout the City. The starting times will be different, depending on the location. You can go here to the Facebook page for more information about it.
For more information about the Neighborhood Watch program, call DPD’s Crime Prevention Unit at (256)-301-3139.