Slow progress within Dayton Police Reform groups doesn’t diminish hope

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"We are asking alot of questions hoping to see through the grey areas."

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– In Wednesday night’s meeting, conversations of frustration and anger were shared from the police reform groups but not without a side of hope.

“As a black man, I am understanding of the lack of patience by many people, thankful for so many people wanting that immediate change and so many willing to work to that change,” said Community Engagement Manager Will Smith.

What some are calling a slow crawl, several groups within the city are starting to progress changes in the Dayton Police Department.

“The more we can trust each other, the more we can have these uncomfortable conversations because it’s not an easy task where everyone in the room has been in agreement about things,” said Smith.

Almost two months since their first meeting, over 125 people are involved in new listening sessions in 5 separate categories. one of the biggest pieces the community asked for in Wednesday’s meeting with the city was transparency of information and trust from the police departments.

City of Dayton

“Failure to comply or something like that, that comply thing, where is that grey area, does it exist in not stopping fast enough?” said Smith. “If a policeman asks me a question, do I have to stop right then?”

However, Mayor Whaley believes more steps can be made in Ohio if both democrats and republicans put their differences aside in Columbus to benefit their own communities.

“The legislature, the governor every statewide elected, they just point fingers at each other all the time,” said Whaley. “We want action and I don’t think the people of Dayton would accept that as an answer.”

The next step for the groups are to administer their quarterly surveys to all groups involved to see what the results are from the meetings and rate effectiveness. Then, cross sample between the five groups. According to Smith, he says the listening sessions seem to be the most powerful tool and the Dayton Police Department has been extremely helpful throughout the whole process.

Meetings may be viewed live at daytonohio.gov/govtv.

  • The Use of Force Group meets every-other Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Upcoming meeting dates:  Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Oct. 1. 
  • The Community Engagement Group will meet Sept. 3, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • The Training Group will meet Sept. 8, from 2:30 to 4 p.m., and Sept. 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • The Oversight Group will meet Sept. 29, Oct. 20, Nov. 24 and Dec. 22, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 6 and Dec. 11, from 10:30 a.m to noon.
  • The Recruitment Group will meet Sept. 1, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (this meeting may be viewed live at youtube.com/cityofdaytonohio).
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