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Police and the African-Americans discussion for “One Book, One Community”

Last updated on March 18, 2015

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer 

Volunteer State Community College hosted the Wes Moore Police and Black discussion in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room (CDR).

The event was one in a series inspired by the book ìThe Other  Wes Moore by Wes Moore and discussed many topics on police officers in the community.

On the discussion board was Paige Brown, mayor of Gallatin; Donald W. Bandy, chief of Gallatin police for 23 years; Bill Sawyer, Gallatin police officer; and  Carl Jenkins, retired police officer after 37 years of service.

Each person commented on questions asked by Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, director of the office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, and the audience on topics such as body cameras, relationship with the community, how to bridge the gap between police officers and people of color and how to build trust in the community.

On the option of having body cameras being placed on their uniform, Sawyer said that Gallatin Police are working on getting cameras placed on their uniforms but have yet to figure out how to properly go about using the technology in the community with protecting the citizens rights to privacy.

Bandy spoke about building relationships in the community.

I want to remove the mindset of us against them but for us to all come together making it a better place to live, said Bandy.

The officers talked about wanting to get more personal with the community, improve quality, show up to events that the community is holding and to even sponsor their own events so that they themselves can get to know the community better.

I would love for the community to have a better understanding of making the community safe for all people,î said Brown.

The Gallatin police officers talked about how even police officers are just as much a human as the next person.

They said that sometimes their emotions can take over and that is why it is important for when stopping someone for whatever reason that they should be respectful and try not to start an altercation with the police officer just because you feel wrongfully accused.

ìPolice officers are not machines, they are humans,î said Jenkins.

Bandy said Gallatin offers a 24/7 police line that people can call and file a complaint with, if they feel they were mistreated.

On March 2, there was a discussion in the Pickel Field House over the effects of Hip-Hop on society at 9 a.m.

The next Wes Moore event will be on March 19, about the fear of young African-American males and possible solutions at 12:30 p.m. in the CDR.

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