Two Day Seminar Continues Efforts to Bridge the Gap between Police and the Community

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By Edward Henderson

The keyword over the past few weeks in response to the recent violence between police and the African American community is action. In the wake of last week’s Voice and Viewpoint town hall meeting, San Diego based organizations are answering the call and offering pre-emptive solutions before tragedy strikes in our community.

On Friday, July 29th and Saturday, July 30th, Nation of Islam – Muhammad Mosque No. 8, I am My Brother’s Keeper and the City of San Diego County Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention are holding a ‘Bridging The Gap Between Law Enforcement and Community Seminar’. The seminar will provide training to law enforcement and community alike on recognizing and then correcting, perceptions, prejudices and profiling behaviors that impact peaceful interactions between the police and the communities they serve.

The instruction will be headed by Dr. Dennis Muhammad, founder of Peacekeepers and a nationally recognized training expert on the key impediments to community and police relationships. Day one of the seminar will take place at the Tubman Chavez Center, 9am-1pm, 415 So. Euclid Avenue. The discussion will surround communication barriers, cultural sensitivity and diversity, de-escalation, gun violence, and the proper handling of people will be discussed.

Day two of the seminar will take place at Gompers Preparatory Academy, 9am to 4pm, 1005 47th Street. The focus of the day is providing 200 youth participants with hands on, interactive training on peaceful conflict resolution with their peers, as well as police, what to do if stopped by law enforcement, bullying, civic responsibility and community stewardship. Early Bird Youth (age 14-24) Seminar registrants via www.eventbrite.com who complete the Saturday training are eligible for a $25-$50 stipend.

“We can’t just talk about police having respect for community and the community not having respect themselves,” said I am my Brother’s Keeper founder Student Minister Hugh Muhammed. “Our goal is to get ahead of things so that nothing like Minnesota, Baton Rouge or Dallas happens in our community.”

The Seminar culminates with a frank community dialogue and panel discussion with local law enforcement chiefs from 2:00pm-4:00pm. Panel members include Dr. Muhammed, Chief of Police Shelley Zimmerman and Chief Probation Officer Adolfo Gonzalez.

“The first level that we must deal with is the survival and our wellbeing on a day to day basis where we encounter police officers that aren’t doing their job,” said Minister Muhammed. “Then we can deal with our education, job development, health and wellness. All of that becomes a part of the wellness of community.”