Following days of protests in Atlanta over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, Georgia Republicans hosted a forum Wednesday night on police-community relations.
In a cafe in College Park on Wednesday night, state GOP leaders and law enforcement officials met with members of the community to discuss strategies on moving forward after the demonstrations.
“Be not afraid of the energy of these young people,” said Leo Smith, the state party’s director of minority engagement. “Be not afraid of it, don’t discount it, but let’s do something to channel it and make use of it.”
The panelists talked about better training for police officers, the need for law enforcement to know people in the communities they serve and the community’s role in helping officers be accountable.
“One thing that we found is that police officers police differently when they have relationships in the community,” College Park Police Chief Keith Meadows said.
Smith said these discussions will continue across the state, and that a white paper of best practices and recommendations will be compiled that can be presented to lawmakers.
State Attorney General Sam Olens was scheduled to be on the panel, but he was called to attend an event at the White House with the president that discussed a similar topic: building community trust.