Raleigh, N.C., Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown is holding a series of public meetings called “Face to Face,” which she bills as two-way conversations between city residents and sworn officers. “This is where it starts,” she said before welcoming city residents and officers to one session last week, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. “We are hoping these types of community engagements will help to enlighten the community, empower the community and build relationships with the community.” Deck-Brown said she came up with the idea after she and her aides noticed they were asked the same questions at local meetings. “They were very good questions, but the people in the room were the only ones hearing the answer,” she said.
At last week’s event, police and residents watched an 8-minute video on what should happen during a traffic stop, then broke into groups at 15 tables and began an hour-long conversation. At the end of the conversation, each table could submit a question for the chief to answer at the night's end. Andrew Sachs of the Dispute Settlement Center said, “This is a more intimate setting where for one hour you can talk about anything you want, and if you like, try to come up with questions for the chief,” along with suggestions and ideas. Deck-Brown hoped that “by-products” of the night's conversation would include new programs, new ideas and possibly the modification of current department policies.