Our workshop model, "Building Bridges: Everybody Matters" was used in a pilot program to build rapport and respect between Law Enforcement and the Community in Metro Lansing, Michigan. Sponsored by The Lansing Police Department, invited guests included community members and law enforcement from: Michigan State Police, Ingham County Sheriff's Department, Ingham County Commissioners, Eaton County Sheriff's Department, Eaton County Commissioner and Eaton County Sheriff and Undersheriff.
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COMMENTS FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS:
"I think the training was really good. Everyone seemed a little nervous in the beginning about how this would turn out, but when the Officers began talking with the community members they saw we were people just like them. In some of the past trainings at LPD reference Police relationships, the facilitators were basically against Police. But this training they were neutral."
"I think we all learned something from each group."
"I liked how breaking into groups encouraged people to be honest."
"I felt the training got members of the community to meet with Police and chance to meet the people we serve.
"I enjoyed listening to others and their different perspectives."
"I think this training was primarily good. Everyone shows up with hesitation. I understand there was a last minute email possibly telling officers to wear a uniform. I actually disagree with that. I believe having the officers there out of uniform did display our human qualities and removed a prominent barrier. I enjoyed the younger population that attended and think this may actually be more of our target group that we need to reach out to and open communication lines with."
"Overall, I think this training is a good idea as it forces our staff to communicate with community members and hear their positions, whether good or bad. In addition, it provides our staff a platform to move the discussion about policing in a more humanistic manner. "
"To be honest, the majority of Officers really enjoyed sitting in small groups with community members and explaining to them what our job entails."