JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Building better relationships between the police and the community. That’s what a group of out of state police officers are trying to do and they’re using Jackson, Mississippi, as their classroom.
It’s an immersive trip to the south. Law enforcement from Arizona and Illinois visited the capital city in September hoping to learn better ways to police in Black and brown communities. They began with a visit to New Horizon Church where the experience was full and emotional.
Doreen Garlid with the Tempe, Arizona, City Council said, “We are all feeling the same things, and it didn’t matter what your your ethnic background was or your religious background was. All of us were feeling about the same things joy, anger, frustration, hope, all of these incredible emotions that we were all feeling. And so, it really didn’t matter where you’re from. It was just it was just beautiful to be able to share that with people that you’ve become close within the last few days.”
Learning about the relationship between the police and Black and brown communities in the south was hard, but also healing. The Telos Group is the organization that brought the officers to Mississippi. Their mission is to build a better tomorrow.
“Well, we live in a really polarized time, a really divided time, and we’re trying to find ways to help folks come together and pursue our common good in the United States. And so, we’re trying to tell a more honest American story as a way to help us come together to deal with some of the historic issues in our past that are continuing to present themselves and to find ways to build a better future,” said Todd Deatherage, executive director and co-founder of the Telos Group.
A better future that requires a better understanding, something this group said can’t be done by lawmakers alone. The goal is to have these officers take back what they’ve learned to their communities and share with their fellow officers.