By Dionejala-Tytionna Q.R. Muhammad and Hasana Muhammad
(Greensboro, NC) - In a time where some police officers are being questioned about their practices and ethics in the community, The North State Law Enforcement Officers Association held an event to recognize black police officers. The event on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 was a gathering of current and former black police officers in order to honor and congratulate them. Black Billionaire, Michael V. Roberts, appeared via Skype and gave the message of gratitude to the black police officers present. He stressed the importance of giving hope to the community, helping the community, and celebrating and honoring the uniform. Roberts also spoke on gun violence and his belief that those who are mentally unstable should not be in possession of guns. He stated that guns and violence should be replaced with hope and the creation of jobs. Speakers of this event believed that the answer to change was more black police officers and in an interview with an anonymous interviewee, it was said that the reason for police brutality was because of a lack of respect for the uniform. The Guest Speaker was former Greensboro Chief of Police, Sylvester Daughtry. At the end of the event, those who done considerable things for their precinct or had broken boundaries were honored. Virtue Today Magazine salutes Chief Lance Jones, President of The Gate City Chapter of North State Law Enforcement Officer's Association and the other officers for their hard work and dedication.
Interview with Police Officer
(The following is an excerpt from a interview that Virtue Magazine interns conducted with a police officer at the event. It provides insight in the current stories involving police officers today.)
Interns (I): Hello, we are with Virtue Magazine and we just wanted to ask you a few questions regarding your experience as a police officer and the recent events that have occurred. The first question is how long have you been in the police force?
Anonymous (A): 14 years
I: What is your thinking when you go out patrolling or to a situation?
A: Making sure that I give quality service and come home safe.
I: Of Course. Why did you become a police officer?
A: I was in the military for several years and when I got out I came back to North Carolina and I thought what better way to give back to my community, to my country. And I applied and I got hired back in 2004 and I've been here ever since and I love it.
I: That's great. How do you feel about the past police brutalities incidents i.e. Starbucks?
A: I like Starbucks. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a gold card member. I do feel that they are really trying to avoid any other issues by shutting down their locations for that one day. I think that the police being called for trespassing, what they did was proper because if someone is there and need to be removed they have to do their job. There are some things that we do that is legal but we may say “you know what I probably wouldn’t have done it.” I don't necessarily agree with it but it's legal and it was done very respectfully. If you're asked to leave leave and you don't leave we have to physically remove you, so whether or not we agree with it that’s something their corporate office would have to deal with. As for as you said about you set about police brutality. I do believe that there a lot of things put out there in social media especially that is premature, so we may see snippets of things. Or certain things maybe after something else had occurred so we don't know the full story until it comes out in court and those things we aren't privy to unless you're actually in the room and listen to both sides. I feel some things that have been found justified in our court system they got it right and then there are some things that I thought maybe they didn't but I'm not an attorney, I'm not a judge and unless I look at case law, I don’t know. There's a disconnect between our communities and our police officers. I don't know where it is or why but working together and having open dialogue even for those who are against the police because we get a lot of people that are pro police that come to community meetings and are involved. But we need those folks who are against the police so we can see each other sides and say that I may not agree but I see your side and we can work together and now I'm informed and educated. And the same thing goes for us, I may not know what it’s like growing up in inner city, I grew up in the country. I don't know what it's like to be in public housing or an area where there's high crime so to be able to understand and to learn I think will be better.
I: Did you hear about Durham not allowing officers to go to Israel for police training. Because of how is Israeli police officers are very aggressive and how they deal with the Palestinians in a violent way. Have you heard about that?
A :No, I haven't.
I: What can be done to ensure that the public feels confident in the police force and insuring incidents such as Starbucks and Eric Garner and Michael Brown do not happen?
A: I'm a firm believer that we are, how can I put it, I was not always a police officer. I was also a civilian. And growing up I had that respect for parents teachers and authority. To me it starts at home and the community. No longer can the grandmother next door discipline your child when they act up. No longer can the teachers really do much of anything because the parents come in and say not my child your lying and try to fight the teacher. That disrespect when it start with your parents then nobody else matters and I see a lot of it in the sense of entitlement, “I'm gonna go here and do what I want to” as an adult and no consequences. Now I think that there are certain things that do happen and go on, yes, but a lot of that to me it looks like there is a lot of going on and I wish that we black, white, and purple take more control of our communities and be more involved. We should know who our next door neighbors are I said know who my neighbors are 2 or 3 doors down and their kids. A lot of people don’t know that. When my neighbors go on vacation they are going to tell me they are going on vacation. If someone's in my yard, call the police don't look the other way. For us to help the community you gotta be able to help yourselves too. A lot of our calls are reactive, we try to be proactive but we need help. If I'm running down your street and the bad guy sees me, he’s going to wait for me to leave to go do something. I need you to be looking out your window and when you see it call me back, not say isn't my business. Then there are some people who say we can’t do that in our communities (snitching). That's where that conversation needs to be had. What can we do? Text 911 or to crime stoppers to save your community. To get these folks out who are bringing in negativity in. This helps us keep everyone safe.
I: Thank you so much for answering questions for Virtue Magazine.
A: No problem, thank you.
Virtue Today Magazine salutes those striving to make our communities a safer place.