Movement aims to improve community and police relations

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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The quote above is one of my favorites. In just 27 words, it separates the doers from the talkers, the “solutionists” from the endless conversationalists and the movement leaders from the bystanders.

It’s common knowledge that nationwide, the relationship between communities and the local police departments have experienced strain for many years. The reasons behind this fact are many: lack of trust, police brutality, videos of citizens’ deaths by cops, a failed understanding of the community, preconceived notions, unwillingness to reach across the table, stereotypes and the list goes on.

The police are often viewed as the enemy while many in law enforcement view the community as disrespectful, combative and aggressive. For as many of those that don the shield with this viewpoint, there are many who go to work daily to serve and protect the community they took an oath of loyalty to.

In Lexington forming strong, healthy relationships within the community is one of the police department’s top priorities.

Upon seeing the discord in many cities across the country, I, along with Lexington native E’Yanesha Reid, felt it was time to take action in our own city; a proactive approach to combat what we were seeing take place elsewhere.

One of the beauties of small town living is the whole ‘everybody knows everybody’ way of life. Having already been active in the community, we scheduled a meeting with the police chief and next ranking officer, the major.

Our premise was simple, we don’t want to see what’s been happening in other cities happen in Lexington. In standing on this desire, we came up with an idea that we believe will aid the department in building trust within the community.

Often when you encounter the police it’s because you have called for their help. The situation or circumstance tends to be stressful and doesn’t yield much time for you to interact with the officers in a calm state. In researching the areas that have experienced discord, the root of the issue often stems from the fact that citizens feel there is a disconnect between them and the police department.

To combat the feelings that plague a lot of communities, we, along with natives have established Together We Can. Together We Can consist of citizens of the Lexington community who have a vested interest in strengthening the relationship between the community and the police department.

It was formed to develop, implement and execute ideas and events that will foster communication, fellowship and trust. All events are planned in conjunction with representatives from the Lexington Police Department. We believe that if we offer events, in an environment, where the community and police officers can interact outside of their norms then we can foster relationships rooted in trust, honesty and unity.

In 2017, we held three successful events. We hosted a community basketball game, a game night and a community softball game. All three events provided citizens and police officers ample time to fellowship, laugh and have fun.

This year we have four events planned. Our basketball game took place on March 8. The continued success of this event has spurned a community pickup basketball league that is being spearheaded by a couple of citizens and a police officer. In addition to the other two events we had last year, we are also hosting a night of bowling at the local YMCA.

Over the years, movements have often been birthed out of someone’s desire to either meet a need or to change injustices that they see. This is movement is no different. We want our city to be a city of peace. We want our city to be a city of understanding. We want our city to be an example of what can happen when the citizens and the police department get on one accord.

#TogetherWeCan




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