Police Chiefs And Communities Gather To Discuss Relations In The Metro

Saturday, March 7th 2015, 6:09 pm
By: News 9

Police Chiefs across the metro gathered during a forum to hear as many voices as possible when it comes to public trust, and communication in the community.

It's a hot issue right now for law enforcement across the country.

Saturday's panel discussion was designed and structured for change, an opportunity for the panel of police chiefs to hear perceptions of their police departments from the people they serve.

“Now it's good for this panel to be here, but if your heart's not in it, you're wasting everybody's time,” said a speaker to the panel.

Recently, police haven't been faring well when it comes to inspiring trust, specifically from minority communities.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement has sparked nationwide protest, and has raised awareness not only across the nation, but worldwide about unequal treatment.

“Little disappointed in the police department,” said a concerned OKC resident.

A man, who recently served in Iraq, spoke out to the panel about a recent incident with OCPD.

Racial profiling and police use of excessive force were hot topics during the discussion.

“I was beat up by some security guards right here in Oklahoma City,” he said. “When the police showed up, I was treated like a criminal.”

And there were a number of stories similar to his. People lined up talking about recent encounters, sharing concerns, and heartfelt opinions about local law enforcement.

“There are people whose families have been changed forever,” said Dwain Pellebon, Co-Founder of "Ending Violence Everywhere." “We need reasonable, intelligent, and thought through policy and procedure for law enforcement to engage the citizens of Oklahoma.”

The "Police and Community Trust" forum was a first of its kind for non-profit organization, "Ending Violence Everywhere," known as E.V.E.

“Ferguson could happen in Oklahoma,” said Pellebon.

Chiefs across the metro, including Oklahoma City, Midwest City and Norman sat on the panel with open ears.

“One of our biggest issues now is trying to improve communication and trust in our communities across the United States between law enforcement and our minority communities,” said OCPD Chief, Bill Citty.

“We are here to help, regardless of what you see in the newspapers or on TV,” said Midwest City Police Chief, Brandon Clabes. “Law enforcement is here to make this community and this state and this nation better.”

There is a summit planned by non-profit E.V.E. this summer to address the concerns presented at the forum.