It’s not everyday community members get to sit in the same room as the officers that protect us and give them suggestions on how to do their job.
But that’s exactly what Monday’s workshop on race relations gave dozens of people the chance to do.
“Nationwide we’re having issues between police and we don’t want that to happen here in our community,” MSU Police Sgt. Florence McGlothian-Taylor said. “So the best way to prevent that is by having the dialogue, having the conversations, asking the questions and just delving into that topic.”
Three years ago, MSU Police started the Inclusion and Anti-Violence Unit to be a proactive force in building relationships with people in the community.
Monday’s conference enhances that effort by giving community members and officers from all over mid-Michigan a safe place to voice their opinions on everything from unintentional bias to racial disparities.
According to Sgt. McGlothian-Taylor, everybody has something to learn.
“If individuals have a problem with police to let them know that there are processes that they can go through in order to have their complaints addressed,” she said. “If its a law enforcement officer to listen to the individual and remember to state why you’re stopping the person, that goes a long way.”
Sgt. McGlothian-Taylor added that this is just a small step, and there’s still a lot more to be done before we can really say we’ve addressed the problem.