Representatives from The College of Education and Human Development have teamed up with local law enforcement officials to bring an event aimed at engaging members in the community. The event, titled “A Conversation With Law Enforcement,” will be held Saturday, December 3rd at the Lincoln Recreation Center and will feature a public forum allowing community members to have an open dialogue with police officers.
The event is a collaborative project coordinated by Associate Professor Dr. Gwendolyn Webb-Hasan, her Community-Partnership class, and undergraduate students of the NAACP, alongside the Bryan, College Station, and Texas A&M Campus Police Departments. Each year the class hosts a community forum focused on a different purpose. This will be the fifth forum hosted by the class — addressing something Dr. Webb-Hasan believes to be a timely and important issue affecting communities nationwide.
“It is not uncommon for people to feel as though there is not a clear dialogue with law enforcement,” Dr. Webb-Hasan said. “My hope is that we have a platform beyond the forum in the future where students in the community can begin to know and form bonds with their local police officers.”
Students in the class chose to work with law enforcement as a way to bring a mutually beneficial narrative throughout the Bryan-College Station community. Through a skill called community canvassing, students had to go out and observe community members in order to find the ways best to serve.
“As a co-sponsor of this event, I intend for individuals to have a dialogue with police officers that they wouldn’t always have on a day-to-day basis,” said Dr. Webb-Hasan. “We want this community to be proactive rather than reactive and also able to engage with police so that reciprocal concerns are met.”
Retired Bryan police officer and pastor, Robert Smith will facilitate the event. Smith worked for the Bryan PD for over 30 years and is currently serving as a pastor in Kilgore, TX. Local law enforcement will also have resources available to the public that reinforces different guidelines and regulations.
Transparency from both citizens and law enforcement is an important aspect that must be seen and heard, Dr. Webb-Hasan said.
“I want the community to walk away from this event knowing that officers are not only paid to protect and serve, but that it is also their pleasure to do so. We want everybody including: high school and college students, parents, and families to participate and have a platform to voice their thoughts,” she said.
A Conversation With Law Enforcement will be held Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Lincoln Recreation Center in College Station. More information can be found on the KBTX website.