North Carolina Newspapers

    Reginald D. McCaskill speaks about how the community and police can come
together as the group listens. \
Photo* by Chanel Davis
Rev. Delores (Dee) McCullough works as the group's leader in discussions on
how to improve community and police relationships.
Police and clergy hold 'honest conversations'
BY CHANEL DAVIS
THE CHRONICLE
Clergy members in Winston-Salem and
surrounding areas received hands-on train
ing when it comes down to what police
have to deal with daily on the job, on a
daily basis.
Rev. Nathan Scovens. pastor at Galilee
Missionary Baptist Church, called the dis
cussions "honest conversations." Scovens,
who is the department's chaplain, also said
that it helps the groups figure out how to
enhance the relationship between the
police department and the community.
"There are two things that jump out
today: understanding and appreciation," he
said. "What we are trying not to do is to
demonize one another because we are one
community."
The discussion, facilitated by the
Winston-Salem Human Relations
Commission, was held on Monday, March
17 at the Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety
Training and Support Center on Patterson
Avenue.
Th6 "trust talks", as they were coined,
were intended to foster lines of communi
cation between police officers and mem
bers of the clergy, to eliminate mutual con
cerns and perceptions that create barriers.
and to increase trust and mutual under
standing between police and clergy.
The morning included an icebreaker,
and group discussions about stereotypes
and misconceptions, the
goals and objectives that
both groups had and the t
process and parameters
that police do on a daily
basis.
The clergy also dis
covered what happens
when a complaint is made
against an officer, when
and how to use force, and hands-on expe
rience in the department's gun simulator
that put the clergy in the same dangerous
situations that police would face on the
street.
To conclude the workshop, participants
gather to find solutions to the problems
that face the community when it comes to
interacting with the city's police officers.
Some of those concerns were a lack of
knowledge, racial profiling, lack of trans
parency, communication issues, fear, dis
crimination and lack of accountability.
Some of the solutions included educa
tion, street walks and making sure there is
diversity in the conversations.
"One of the pastors suggested that
maybe on the fifth Sunday, that we
have an officer to come to church stand
with the pastor to shake the members
hands as they are getting out," said Debra
"There are two
hings that jump out
today: understand
ing and apprecia
tion,"
Rev. Nathan Scovens
Jeter, from Mt. Moriah
Outreach Center in
I Kernersville. "Just to start
and build a relationship
besides the clergy to get to
know the people. These types
of forums won't change any
thing if we just come in here
to talk and pray about it. We
have to be (bbbb
proactive and actually do
something about it."
Scovens said that it's
important for the dialogue
that has cropped up since the
incidents in Ferguson,
Missouri, to begin at home.
"As I have had to have
conversations about
Ferguson, and the fears of
Ferguson, with my own fami
ly, 1 encourage others to do
the same," he said. "When it
comes to the church, it's
about personal responsibility
and making sure that we try
as best we can to remain on
the right side of the law.
Police Chief Barry Rountree said that
he is glad that the opportunity presented
itself for both police and clergy to hear
each other out. He said he looks forward to
improving the service that is given to resi
dents.
"We do take the feedback that we gain
from these sessions, we've used it from
our previous trust talks, to do things better
and change policies," he said. "That infor
mation is not just being placed on a piece
of paper."
Police
from page Al
be worried about those
statements.
"The older officer
(Rose) fell short when he
began arguing with the
man. calling the man jeal
ous and strange, talking
about the man's family and
questioning the man's men
tal capacity," she said.
"That was unnecessary
police behavior and shows
improper crisis de-escala
tion skills."
A representative with
the department said they
were "unable to speak
about the matter" because
it is a personnel matter.
Investigators believe
that the video was a part of
a national trend titled "First
Amendment Audit,"
according to a media
release sent out Friday
afternoon from the
Winston-Salem Police
Department. The purpose
of the trend is to attract the
attention of law enforce
ment or military security
personnel to determine if
those security personnel
will infringe on their First
Amendment rights.
According to the
American Civil Liberties
Union, taking photos of
things that are plainly visi
ble from public spaces is a
constitutional right and that
includes federal buildings,
transportation facilities and >
police and other govern
ment officials carrying out
their jobs.
When in public spaces
where you area lawfully
? present, you have the right
' to photograph anything that
? is in plain view, except
r when you are on private
property, where the owner
- can set the rules.
The release states thaf
Rose approached Goins
"because Mr. Goins
? appeared to be photograph
ing the critical infrastruc
ture of the Police
? Department facilities."
An email, according to
? the video and the release,
was sent out about Goins
early February after he was
seen observing other build
? ings in the area, including
? the Hiram H. Ward Federal
I Building, the Forsyth
County Hall of Justice, the
*? Forsyth County Sheriff s
7 Office and the Winston
Salem Transit Authority
Administrative Building
and fuel pumps.
f "The point of citizens'
? rights to record law
? enforcement is for pohce
*?. citizen encounters The
' point is not to randomly ?
\ film police departments
just to prove a point about
First Amendment and pub
lic property," Dennis said.
"Doing so just to prove a
point can be problematic,
especially since the First
Amendment is not equally
applied across demograph
ics and across contexts "
i
While it was not
released what would hap
pened to Rose, officers will
receive additional training
regarding encounters with
residents that may be
engaged in similar activi
ties.
In the release, residents
were also encouraged to
call the police or the
Department of Homeland
Security in the event they
spot someone who is
videotaping critical infra
structure or behaving in a
suspicious manner.
Don't ignore foot pain-it's not normal. If
the pain persists, see a podiatric physician.
brought to you by
Forsyth County
Promoting Health, Imploring thes
NORTH CAROLINA'S
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Rn
    

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