As with other professional police officials across the country, we found the video of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officers reprehensive and sickening. We can no longer stand behind simple anecdotal solutions to address complex problems. His death is not a police training issue, but the result of a troubled culture. Over the last 30 years, many agencies have engaged in community policing efforts that unfortunately, for some agencies, have been more about transforming their image than making effective change. To build deeper, lasting transformation, agencies must build relationships with their communities that are built on trust.
In August 2019, seven police agencies from across Georgia came together in LaGrange to participate in a demonstration project to build trust with marginalized community members. The seven communities include: Albany, Covington, Decatur, DeKalb County, LaGrange, Perry, and Thomasville. As they move forward with this project, each agency will work with minority, business, and faith community representatives as well as elected officials to complete a four-phase program to identify and resolve issues adversely effecting marginalized communities.
This initiative is the largest coordinated effort ever attempted in one state to fundamentally identify and address the underlying causes of disparate treatment and lack of trust between police agencies and their communities. We are currently in the fund-raising phase of the project. Once this has been accomplished, we expect agencies will rapidly move forward with community partners to lead what will likely be a transformational effort across Georgia.
• Chief Michael Persley, Albany Police Department
• Chief Stacey L. Cotton, Covington Police Department
• Chief James M. “Mike” Booker, Decatur Police Department
• Director Joseph Lumpkin, DeKalb County Department of Public Safety
• Chief Louis M. Dekmar, LaGrange Police Department
• Chief Steve Lynn, Perry Police Department
• Chief Troy Rich, Thomasville Police Department
For additional information contact Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director A.A. “Butch” Ayers.