Last year, shortly after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson says she and her fellow commissioners began having conversations about creating an advisory board to build stronger relationships between police officers and residents.
“We were seeing protests all around the nation, and we felt that this was a good first step in addressing that bridge-building,” said Hendrickson, who supported the creation of a community-based board.
Recently, after a final vote, the green light was given, and the Gwinnett County Police Citizens Advisory Board was created.
Hendrickson, when establishing the 10-member board, wanted to make sure various stakeholders, citizens, business professionals and legal and law enforcement groups had a voice in building bridges of change.
Hendrickson says the board is comprised of a diverse group of professionals.
“We have government officials; we have nonprofit officials; we even have a mental health representative on there,” she said on Tuesday’s edition of “Closer Look.”
Hendrickson and Sean Goldstein, a lawyer who serves as the chairman of the Gwinnett County Police Citizens Advisory Board, talked with show host Rose Scott about the functions and mission of the board.
“We are here to represent the community to the police,” said Goldstein, who is also the founder of Goldstein Law Group.
Goldstein says the board will not function as a citizens review board but will serve as a liaison between police and the community and make recommendations.
“What we will be doing is reviewing policy, reviewing training policy, training procedures,” Goldstein said.
So far, the board is working to tour the police department and putting together a town hall to gather feedback from Gwinnett residents about their policing needs.
“Police and community relations is not just an issue of Black, it’s not a Black community’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem,” Hendrickson said.
To listen to the full conversation, please click the audio player above.