In a church basement, 30 Aurora, Co., police officers last night held what amounted to a group therapy session with about 60 citizens who came to discuss race relations, says the Rocky Mountain News. For four hours, in small groups and as a whole, they talked about how the police and the community were getting along. It was the first part of a four-day series of forums aimed at smoothing race relations in the city after high-profile clashes between white officers and black citizens.
Several citizens aired their grievances, saying they or their families had been profiled or mistreated by police. In their session apart from the citizens group, the police talked about how unfair it was that their reputation often seemed based on occasional, highly publicized controversies. They vented about perceptions that they enforce laws based on race. “The police department’s my job, but it’s not who I am,” Agent Steven Crowe told his group. “I’m relieved that it appears to have gone well for all the parties concerned,” Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates said. “I remain convinced, if we could do more of this kind of stuff, many issues in terms of community relations would be diminished.”