Last week, the Argyle Police Department hosted a panel discussion on community and police after hearing concerns from citizens regarding the death of George Floyd and similar incidents.
Argyle Police Chief Emmitt Jackson organized the forum and invited fellow law enforcement leaders to contribute to the conversation, according to a news release from the town. A group including police representatives, leaders of faith-based organizations, a social worker, and concerned citizens made up the panel. According to Jackson, this conversation was necessary and mutually beneficial.
“I felt that the George Floyd incident presented a unique opportunity for that dialogue because all of us, whether we wear a badge or not, can agree it never should have happened,” Jackson said. “From that small point of consensus, I think we can build a collective path forward.”
During the discussion, panelists from each side condemned the events surrounding George Floyd’s death. The group acknowledged that work is needed within police departments to recognize biases and engage in open conversations with the communities that they serve.
Panelists proposed that people of different races, ethnicities, and opinions take initiative to “walk together” in their communities. The group expressed that the simple act of walking together could show solidarity and ease the anxiety of some people of color who feel that they may be labeled as “suspicious” for walking in certain neighborhoods.
Each member of the panel agreed that the discussion was a productive starting point to continue these conversations within their respective peer groups and police departments.
“For far too long we have spoken of the need for better police and community relations but have retreated to our respective corners when controversial events have occurred,” Jackson said. “We can no longer communicate through catchy memes or canned public statements that lack the humanity that comes with a frank, vulnerable dialogue.”
Law enforcement panelists included Argyle Police Chief Emmitt Jackson; Argyle Sergeant, Tony Segura; Argyle Police Officer, Steven Miller; Lake Dallas Police Chief Daniel Carolla; and Northlake Police Captain, Michael Coleman. Community members included Michael Olman, resident of Lake Dallas; Benzi George, resident of Argyle and InterVarsity Christian Area Director; Jennifer Joseph, social worker with the Institute for Justice Research and Development at Florida State University; Justin Greene, pastor at Gateway Church; Kirby Hicks, resident of Argyle, artist, and high school teacher; Rich Lox, coach at Legacy Boxing Gym; and two members of Legacy Boxing Gym, ages 15 and 17.
The meeting was recorded and can be streamed online at: http://argyletx.swagit.com/play/07012020-952