INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – City leaders said the best way to improve trust and the relationship between the community and police is to continue the conversation between the two parties. That's why at least three more community conversations are taking place, and they'll continue until they're no longer needed.
The announcement came Friday morning at Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, which will host a discussion Saturday, July 28. It starts at 10 a.m.
"It's not enough to do this once, a handful of times, for one summer, or maybe even for one year," said Indianapolis City-County Council President, Vop Osili. "We have to make really talking with and really listening to each other a regular part of the relationship between our law enforcement and our community."
Two more discussions are planned. One is set for Saturday, Sept. 15 and the other is on Saturday, Nov. 3. An exact time and location has not been set.
Osili and a few other councilors at the announcement said they're convinced trust can be established after seeing a successful discussion take place at the end of May.
“We’ve had these meetings before, where there was just a one-time occasion and nothing really materialized from it," said Councilor Monroe Gray.
The councilors said they want to use information from each discussion to make changes to show the community they're listening.
Osili said that's what led to the city putting IMPD officers in implicit bias training early this summer. He added the council now wants everyone on the IMPD staff to go through similar training by the end of 2018.
The announced series of discussions will be led by leaders from IUPUI's School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and Indiana University's Public Policy Institute. School officials will moderate the discussions, collect data from the discussions, and present findings to city leaders and police.
IUPUI's vice chancellor for community engagement said the university can provide an objective perspective. "The problems that are unique to Indianapolis, are the breath of issues that worry law enforcement, governance, and citizens," said Amy Conrad Warner.