Wyandotte County residents, pastors and police came together Tuesday to have real, honest conversations about the community's crime rate and its relationship with law enforcement.
Several small groups of citizens were mediated by local pastors at JC Harmon High School.
The goal is to open the lines of communication between people and police.
"Honest conversation, is what it is," said resident Patrick Dunn. "We come out tonight to make a better community. We are trying to help the police officers become better with the community.”
With violent crime surging, KCK leaders believe the public forums offer a chance for brainstorming for real solutions.
"This is not the community I know it has the potential to be and that isn’t has been," said Adrion Roberson, the pastor at Destiny Bible Fellowship Community Church. "It’s tough to watch.”
People talked with police about their concerns, questions and fears. Police heard them out, and responded.
"We hope to get better understanding of how we can serve our community," said 34-year veteran of the KCKPD force, Major William Howard, Jr. “We can’t solve crime without our community. We are part of the community and we are products of the community, so what we need is to partner with the community.”
Howard wants people to know the department is doing its best to make the community safe and change the national police narrative.
"We want them to see us here and know we are here for them and we are concerned about the same things they are concerned about," Howard said.
The next public discussion is on Nov. 29 at Sumner Academy. Registration begins at 6:00 P.M., with small group dialogues beginning at 6:30 P.M. The final discussion will take place on December 13th at Patricia Diane Kane Community Center.
Lexi Sutter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.