Community forum discusses how to handle police interactions

Community forum discusses how to handle police interactions

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Local law officials and the community came together Saturday afternoon to find a solution on dangerous police interactions.

Officer involved incidents are constantly in the news, but a panel of Columbus City and police officials say it takes a community effort to understand how to prevent those incidents.

"It takes forum like these and dialogue between law enforcement and the community in order to be proactive in providing safety to the citizens of the community," said Retired Major Julius Graham of the Columbus Police Department.

Officials say citizens play a part in reducing deadly and dangerous interaction with police as to not have a repeat of Ferguson, Missouri and other high profile officer involved shootings.

"They be respectable and of course be obedient to the commands of the law enforcement officer, not its not a one way street. We expect our officers to be professional and courtesy when dealing with the citizens of Columbus," said Graham.

Police training to prevent these situations have been increased and improved.

"At one time training was very minimal but its extensive, it's ongoing, yearly and mandated," said Graham.

Panel guests say the road to better relationships with law enforcement and the community will take time but it is a work in progress.

Russell County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bellamy was a panelist and Retired Muscogee County Superior Court Judge John Allen was the moderator for the event.

This event was sponsored by St. Mary's Road United Methodist Church in association with Live Healthy in Faith Columbus- AmeriGroup, Columbus Health Department and The West Central Georgia Cancer Coalition.

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