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Improving Citizen and Police Relationships

A groundbreaking breakfast was held Thursday morning to address the issue of police and community relations. The three police chiefs, Chief Tim Longo with the Charlottesville Police Department, Chief Michael Gibson with the University of Virginia Police Department and Colonel Steve Sellers with the Albemarle County Police Department, met with Pastors Alvin Edwards, Lehman Bates, Hodari Hamilton, and Xavier Jackson. The meeting was a crucial step in addressing concerns and developing real strategies to achieve specific goals.

The police chiefs and local pastors agreed to make it a priority to work on and improve citizen and police relations in our community, increase diversity within the police ranks,
and build capacity within the police departments in order to be successful in community policing.

The events occurring across the nation which have highlighted a breakdown in police and community relations make critical the police department’s commitment to work collaboratively with community leaders. Thursday’s discussion was the result of a series of community meetings following the unrest in Ferguson. The police departments heard from the community and agree that it is time to take action.

As the chiefs work to increase diversity and build capacity, they will continue to develop strategies to improve these relationships. In 2015, the departments will host a series of community workshops to develop real strategies to achieve these goals.

Despite the negative news in many parts of the country, our police forces remain committed to strengthen police and citizen relationships and ensuring that all citizens are treated fairly and with respect. As we work to keep our communities safe, we ask for your support. Please help by being part of the solution and sharing constructive ways we can achieve these goals. We all agree that this is an important issue and we are dedicated to finding a solution.

For questions or additional information please contact:

Lt. Steve Upman Lt.
Charlottesville Police Department
Public Information Officer
Melissa Fielding
University of Virginia PD
Investigative Lieutenant
Carter Johnson
Albemarle County Police Department
Public Information Officer


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