KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One man is leading the charge to change the conversation surrounding the narrative of the east side of Kansas City, Missouri.
After a goal, over a cup of coffee, or during a car repair, KCPD Ofc. Edwin Gordillo wants to chat with the east side of KCMO.
“You just have a lot of hardworking people really trying to provide for their families and friends,” Gordillo said. “Just being a Hispanic officer, them seeing me, I want them to change that mindset."
Hector Solorio, owner of Hector's Auto Repair, said Gordillo's efforts are important for the community.
“It’s important for them to see cops are our friends and we shouldn’t run away from them," Solorio said.
Gordillo is telling everyone he can about a new program he created — a citizen’s police academy for the Hispanic Community, where people can learn what they do and how they help people.
“Three to five-years-ago we tried to have one, but nobody showed up,” Gordillo said.
Francisco Murguia Jr., with Café Ollama, said the program will help build trust between police and the community.
“For us that means creating more awareness, so there’s more trust between the community people and those who protect it," he said.
Many Hispanic business owners agree events that bring everyone together are key.
“It’s going to be really hard if we don’t do something now,” Solorio said.
Gordillo said that without beginning a conversation, people's perception of police won't change.
“Now unless they have a positive interaction or need something from us, then that mindset isn’t going to change,” Gordillo said. “I want to have those conversations, I want to meet halfway.”
The first citizen's police academy is on Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Anthony's church on Benton Boulevard. The presentations will be in English and Spanish.
To reserve a spot, people can contact (816)-965-3856 or email Edwin.Gordillo@KCPD.org.