CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – The Chesterfield Police open forum Tuesday night was a chance for the department to highlight their efforts to improve race relations between officers and the community.
“How can police better serve you,” was the theme of the meeting only days after two Palm Spring police officers were killed in after responding to a domestic call.
Close to two dozen Chesterfield residents came to listen to how police train for mental health suspects, how they are recruiting a diverse police force and what residents should do If they’re pulled over by police.
Some in attendance praised police for their work in the community, but others like Kay James said it’s time for parents to step up at home.
She said much like police training, parents must train their kids as well.
“As a community I think one of the things that’s helpful is… TV cannot raise our children,” she said. “African American children are watching Empire. So they want that life, the nice clothes, and cars. We get upset if a police officer depicts us that way… they’re racist. But If an African American puts out a show that depicts us that way, it’s OK. It can’t be a double standard.”
Chief of Police Thierry G. Dupuis says Tuesday’s forum was the department’s sixth or seventh community forum.
“The time the talk is not after something happens. The time to talk is while building those relationships and dealing with issues before they become problems,” he said.