UT Seminar Opens Communication Among Police, Citizens

KNOXVILLE — In an effort to enrich community and police relationships in the Walter P. Taylor Homes community, the University of Tennessee Regional Community Policing Institute (RCPI) will host “Enhancing Communication and Trust through Community Partnerships” May 8-11 at the Family Investment Center, 400 Harriet Tubman St., Knoxville.

Residents of the Walter P. Taylor Homes community in East Knoxville are invited to participate in the program with Knoxville law enforcement officers. The training will examine the components of community policing and the importance of communication, understanding and trust between officers and the citizens they serve.

The seminar will help community participants understand the operating procedures of law enforcement officers, and it will show officers the value of the citizens’ perception of police work, said Mike Hill, director of the RCPI at UT’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center.

Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen said it’s critical that law enforcement officers “keep their fingers on the pulse of the community.

“We want to accomplish this by working with our community policing institute to schedule regular trainings with our citizens, openly discussing crime problems and critical issues in the community, sharing information about policing strategies,” he said. “The Knoxville Police Department must take the lead in educating citizens on how and why we do the things we do.”

The course will be facilitated by J.D. Sanders, chief of police in Columbus, Miss., and Willie Williams, retired chief of police in Wilson, N.C. In addition to Owen, special guests attending the training will be Diane Jordan, Knox County commissioner, 1st District; Carol Scott, executive director of the Police Advisory and Review Committee in Knoxville; and the Rev. Joseph Smith, pastor of New Friendship Baptist Church in Knoxville.

“This training will be our fourth in a series of partnership initiatives for the Knoxville Police Department, and we look forward to continuing the series as we strive to improve the quality of life in our community,” Hill said.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is funding the seminar, course materials and daily breakfast and lunch for participants.

The training begins Monday, May 8, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continues daily through Thursday, May 11, ending at noon. The seminar is free, but registration is required by April 28. Seating is limited to the first 30 participants who register. Free transportation will be provided upon request. For more information, contact Mike Hill or Amanda Watts at the UT RCPI, (865) 215-1340.

For more information about UT RCPI, visit http://www.leic.tennessee.edu/rcpi.htm

Contacts:

Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu

Queena Jones, (865) 974-1533, queena.jones@tennessee.edu