“It was an opportunity for the community and law to get together and communicate which ultimately helps solve a lot of the issues that are facing all of us today.”
That communication Thursday night at the Mount Carmel Community Baptist Church was intense at times as local people asked law enforcement to get real about topics they’re passionate about.
Senior pastor Benjamin Calvert said the goal of the night was not to create issues between law enforcement and the community that aren’t there, but to learn.
“To teach our own, to correct our own, to demand respect from our own. And I don’t mean our own as in black people demanding it from black people but the community from it’s neighbors. From our own constituency. Because we can’t ask them as far as law enforcement as far as city officials to fix what we can fix for ourselves,” said Calvert.
The panel was made up of Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty, Wintersville Police Chief Art Fowler, Toronto Police Chief Randy Henry, and Steubenville City manager James Mavromatis. 7News spoke with Chief Fowler who said he thought the night was a big success.
“We are not against the community, we are for the community but we need the community to help us, help them,” said Fowler.
“Talking about some of the truths behind what they have to do and what they’re faced with, and then some of the truths behind what we should expect from our officers, fairness, justice, equality, some of those kinds of things,” said Calvert.
Reverend Calvert says his goal was for people to leave informed, inspired, encouraged and ready for action, and officers agreed that conversations like this one need to happen more often.
“Absolutely, I would love to see more community events not only community and law enforcement, but within the community itself,” said Fowler.