COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – For leaders in law enforcement like Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Trebor Randle, communication and open dialogue are key in not only understanding how young men and women of all races perceive police, but also clearly articulating why safety is their top priority when engaging with citizens in traffic stops, on the streets and at their front doors.
The program presented Saturday morning at the Columbus Government Center, titled “The Law and Your Community”, was put together by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, also known as NOBLE, in conjunction with advocacy group Moms of Black Boys United.
The presentation informed students in attendance about how to handle encounters with police. Desmond Hamm Jr., an incoming senior at Kendrick High School said, “You have to go through basic steps, in order to get where you have to go, and law enforcement just wants you to go through the right things the right way.”
Hamm, also a member of the Columbus Kappa League, and other students said they appreciate the experts’ reminder of their rights as citizens and believe they too can help de-escalate any tension with police. Hamm mentions how he wants local law enforcement to meet him and his peers where they are, in places like schools and extracurricular activities, more frequently.
“There’s always room for growth,” he said. “We always want to get to the point where people feel comfortable around the police, and not say they’re always against us. We need to have a strong support system,” he said.
Other law enforcement leaders from Saturday’s talk said their departments and advocacy groups are working with school districts to create both a time and space where students can talk to officers one-on-one to share each other’s experience and viewpoint.