GREENSBORO, NC – A series of meetings with the Greensboro Police Department and the community will take place throughout December. The topic of conversation? That's up to citizens.
Starting December 2nd, officers will meet with citizens at the Windsor Center on Gate City Blvd.
"We want people to know that this is not an agenda. Don't expect to come out and hear a lot of talking or don't expect to come out and hear me give a speech. We are really there to listen," said GPD Capt. Nathaniel Davis.
During the summer, talks began within the department to create a new team- one that would be dedicated to interacting with the community. Davis now heads the team, appropriately named the Office of Community Engagement. Jenny Caviness, and Sue Davis join the office as Engagement Manager and Relation Coordinator. Caviness joins the police department after 16 years with Parks and Rec.
It's quite possible topics will include racial tensions, the infamous New York Times article referencing traffic stops in the city and the resulting order from Chief Wayne Scott to end minor traffic stops.
Davis said the department needs to hear, face and address whatever topic is broached.
"There may be things that are tough to hear or there may be points of tension or perceptions that may be uncomfortable to hear but we are prepared to hear those as a police department."
Relations between police and community is a topic continually discussed nationally. Whether the conversation is in support of police, or expressing discontent, the starting point is always the same- trust.
Davis said he personally feels the relationship between the community and Greensboro Police is solid.
"I know that I receive a lot of positive comments from the community and I know that a lot of our officers do," he said before admitting the negative images of the department are a stumbling block.
"We want to refute the perception that we are just some occupying force."
Talking and building relationships with the community are the most important goals, according to Davis. Officers will not be attending the meetings simply to give speeches, but will be prepared to show the community how the department plans to better serve.
"The chief wants to revamp the training policy. We want to discuss the neighborhood oriented policy and what we are doing as far as recruiting."
The six meetings are devised to document concerns and conversations to help GPD identify hot button issues in each community and determine which issues come up the most. The expectation is to take those concerns and apply them to policies and programs within the department. Davis said it is possible more meetings will be scheduled in the future.
List of Community Engagement Meetings:
December 2 – Windsor Center, 1601 E. Gate City Blvd., 6:30pm-8:30pm
December 5 – Lewis Center, 3110 Forest Lawn Dr., 10am – 12pm
December 8- Griffin Center 5310 Hilltop Rd., 6:30pm- 8:30pm
December 10- Lindley Center, 2907 Springwood Dr., 6:30pm-8:30pm
December 14- Peeler Center, 1300 Sykes Ave., 6:30pm-8:30pm
December 15- Glenwood Center, 2012 Coliseum Blvd., 6:30pm-8:30pm
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