I recently attended a community partners breakfast sponsored by the Chesterfield County Police Department. As you know, we have made great strides in strengthening our relationships with local police. The invitation to participate in the breakfast is one result of those efforts.
Present was a diverse group of folks: Hispanic, Indian, Muslim, Christian organizations along with groups such as the NAACP and us. This was the first of many opportunities that Chesterfield will host to build bridges between the department and the communities they serve.
Several participants expressed a desire to have more conversations as sometimes members of their communities do not trust the men and women who wear badges for fear of not being treated fairly. Just recently, for example, the Richmond Free Press published an article addressing what to do if you are stopped by the police. Fear can abound based on prior experiences.
Police chiefs from Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield have all pledged that their officers will be held to the highest standards of conduct. No mistreatment of anyone due to sexual orientation or gender identity will be tolerated.
No profession has a 100% outstanding employee ratio. There are some bad cops out there just as there are bad teachers, unscrupulous attorneys, dishonest accountants, store clerks and nonprofit executive directors. But what we know is that most are good people.
Our community has seen much positive good take place over the last few years. More is to come, but those changes can only take place if we participate full force. And the changes we have realized did not happen because people sat on the sidelines.
If you have not done so recently, write a check to an LGBT organization or call and ask how you can help as a volunteer. Change depends on it.