EPISODE #11

POLICING AND RACE

All politics is local.
— Former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill

It's been a hard few weeks for our nation. Like so many of us, I've found myself glued to my television watching reports of Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, and then Dallas. It seems that hundreds of years of tensions have spilled over onto our streets and television screens right into our living rooms.

I wrote last weekend about how adopting my dark-skinned child has broadened my perspective on race issues. However, I acknowledge that like all of us, I am a work in progress. I firmly believe that the solution to any problem starts by not looking for the faults in others, but taking a hard look in the mirror at how each of us can impact change.

On Monday of this week, I saw a powerful image in my Facebook feed:

African-American faith leaders praying for Roswell's police chief and department.

African-American faith leaders praying for Roswell's police chief and department.

The image really affected me. I sincerely admire the brave leadership of African-American pastors in Roswell extending an olive branch to our city's police chief in a time of such palpable racial tension. News shows are full of people yelling over one another. What a refreshing image to see leaders quietly standing together as brothers, as family.

Last night, I watched President Obama's town hall meeting on police and race relations. Part of the challenge was to continue the conversation in all of our local communities.

Today, I had an opportunity to accept that challenge.

Roswell's Police Chief Rusty Grant has 35 years of experience in law enforcement. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous voluntarily going to the police station to conduct the interview. However, I found Chief Grant to be an honest, transparent, and humble leader committed to professionalism.

The discussion encompassed how law enforcement has changed, what Roswell is doing to reach out to minority communities, how to combat racial bias, what to do in a traffic stop, and how Roswell has one of the highest hiring standards in the state. Additionally, Chief Grant is already implementing new training to combat racial bias starting next month.

Whether you live in Roswell or not, this is an important conversation. I left the interview thankful for Chief Grant's leadership, and thankful to live in a community that is constantly seeking to improve. 

If we can get this right in Roswell,  there is hope for the rest of our nation.

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