NORTHRIDGE, Ohio (WDTN) – Two dozen police officers and community members came together at New City Church Thursday to discuss the issues law enforcement is facing today.
“We understand this discussion is going on a national level, we understand it’s going on a state level, but we want to have a discussion at the local level.” said Larry Lane, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office community relations officer.
Thursday was one of the Montgomery County Sheriff Office’s IMPACT meetings, which stands for Improving Modern Police and Community Trust. IMPACT started around five years ago.
It’s a forum for the community to draw attention to problems and police from multiple jurisdictions to explain why certain tactics are used.
“To hear both sides and weighing what you think and deciding maybe I should have considered this, or I hadn’t thought of that, so we need to have these conversations,” Valerie Lee who attended the meeting representing the Women’s League of Voters.
Thursday’s discussion came after protests erupted from the Kentucky grand jury’s decision in Breonna Taylor’s case.
Police and community members are saying that correct information is more important than ever.
“The more information that’s put out there, the better the entire community is going to be able to make a good judgement, rather than just working from our inner emotions,” Lee said.
“We have to learn, get the facts, a lot of times we run without the total information and I think that I learned some things that I heard yesterday in that grand jury decision,” Lane said.
Lane said these kinds of discussions allow citizens to get involved, speak up and demand change in policing at the local level.
“We have to do what the community wants us to do. We’re not lone rangers, the police are not lone rangers just doing their own thing. We want to police the way the community wants us to police,” Lane said.
The next IMPACT meeting will discuss solutions to some of the issues brought up in meetings, from hiring to training to transparency.
That meeting has not been scheduled yet, check the Montgomery County Sheriff Office’s Facebook page for updates. Meetings are open to the public.