COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – On July 22, News Leader 9 was proud to bring you exclusive live coverage of the mayor's forum on race relations and policing.
It's an important conversation to have - and to keep having.
Improving communication between the police and all people of every race is the best way to prevent a situation from escalating, or to prevent misunderstandings that result in tragedies
And did you know that almost every police force in our area and around the country always needs more good officers?
The standards for hiring police in Columbus are very high and that's just the way the mayor wants it.
Columbus police officer applicants are heavily vetted: not just looking at employment history, but their social media profile, too.
Psychological screenings are required, as is sensitivity training, knowledge of mental health issues and multi-cultural awareness. All of this happens before the city even thinks of giving the officer candidate a badge or a gun.
"A lot of the citizens, their concern, their frustrations, often times relate to things they're not aware of that we already do," mayor Teresa Tomlinson said.
One of those concerns is always the use of force, and Mayor Tomlinson says Columbus has far fewer use of force issues than other municipalities, partly because of the city's focus on hiring the best, most capable men and women and then training them properly.
If more citizens knew how much training and screening goes into police officer hiring, they might grow even more appreciation for the men and women who respond in seconds to crisis situations, and must then make challenging split second decisions on a daily basis.
It's a job only a chosen few can do.
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