Reach One Teach One series addresses improving police and community relations

VIDEO: Reach One Teach One series addresses improving police and community relations

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A North Charleston community is coming together to talk about improving relationships between the police and the community.

It's part of a Reach One Teach One discussion series held at Joshua Baptist Church.

The open panel discussion started with a lesson from the North Charleston Police Department on how to interact with law enforcement, like being respectful.

Assistant Chief of the North Charleston Police Department Reggie Burgess says it's important for community members including the youth to talk with police.

"We are here to teach y'all the things we need y'all to understand so you all and our context can be a whole lot better," Burgess said.

It soon evolved into a discussion on the recent shootings of black men by police officers and the lack of trust some communities have with police.

Candace Lindsay attended the discussion. She says recent events have been heavy on her heart.

"Yesterday my nephew told his mom that he is scared," Lindsay said.  "Every morning that he gets up to go to school he likes to take pictures and yesterday posed for his picture, he threw his hands up and he said don't shoot."

Her nephew is four years old they didn't know he was paying attention to the news. The family says he doesn't like for them to drive fast and he says 'don't run the red light' because he doesn't want the police to bother them.

"It's really really painful and it makes tears come to my eyes every time I think about it," Lindsay said.

They didn't realize he was listening to the things being said in the news.

"His mom told him the other day all cops are not bad cops," Lindsay said. "Cops are our friends, we like to be able to call on them for help."

Organizer of the discussions Kareem Felder hopes to build better relationship between law enforcement and the community.

"I just want us to understand each other, I know it's going to be hard but it needs to be done that's the only way we going to solve this problem," Felder said.

Officers talked about things they could do to help build the community's trust as well as the things that civilians can do. People talked about some of the concerns they have with police including racial profiling and accountability.

North Charleston Police Officer Bethany Southerland says she enjoys interacting with the community and getting to know the people she serves.

"What I can do to gain your trust is to treat you like you were my mother," Southerland said.  "I would take a bullet for you I would take a bullet for any of's my job, I love you, I love this city."

Felder says the message was for children as well.

"I don't want to raise my kids in a world like this, it's been like this for a long time and it's probably going to take even longer to change it," Felder said.

He hopes these discussions will be a starting point for change and understanding.

"We appreciate you saying you care about us and you love us, because that make a difference to me," said a woman from the audience to a police officer.

Felder says with each discussion they have in the community more people attend.

"A lot of times we sit around and we talk about things with each other and it just felt good to be able to get out and talk with other people," Lindsay said.

There are two more sessions in the Reach One Teach One Discussion Series. The next one will be on October 29th in the Fellowship Hall of Joshua Baptist Church located at 2482 Faber Road in North Charleston.

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