The Center For Energy Education Hosts A Law Enforcement & Community Dialogue Forum

Published October 6, 2020

Roanoke Rapids, NC – The Center for Energy Education (C4EE)’s Board of Directors hosted an forum entitled “Law Enforcement and Community Dialogue” on Monday, September 28, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the C4EE outdoor classroom.

The event allowed community members and law enforcement officers to discuss how strategies are changing to address current issues happening in the nation. Among those present were law enforcement officers from Halifax, Northampton, and Warren Counties. Also in attendance were clergy members, commissioners, the superintendent of Halifax County Schools, the assistant superintendent of Northampton County Schools, and community leaders from the John 3:16 Center, the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP),, and Halifax Community College (HCC).

The C4EE outdoor venue was set up in compliance with suggested Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for safety. Sanitation stations and face masks were provided. “Offering education forums aligns with the Center’s mission, and social injustice is a timely and important topic to address,” said Mozine Lowe, executive director for the Center for Energy Education. “Having the opportunity to learn about HCC’s new law enforcement training programs and how local law enforcement officers are rethinking strategies and obtaining a deeper understanding of cultural diversity within communities helps to strengthen community relations,” said Lowe.

Dr. Michael A Elam, Ed.D, President of Halifax Community College and C4EE Board Member, moderated the event. “We love our community, and we don’t want anything like that to happen here,” said Dr. Elam referring to recent incidents with law enforcement officers that led to the shootings of Black Americans George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Gregory Parker, Director of Law Enforcement Training at Halifax Community College, spoke to the audience about how the training program is having its students complete more culturally sensitive scenario-based exercises. Parker said, “We have extended several invitations to people from different cultures to come into our classes and explain to us first-hand what would make them feel at ease or defensive when someone is talking to them.”

Local Sheriff Office representatives and Police Department representatives spoke to the audience about continued training that their program offers and ways they build relationships within the community.

“I called our officers into a meeting to discuss what was going on and … I told my officers to resign if they did not think what the officers did to George Floyd was murder,” said Tyree Davis, Police Chief at Enfield Police Department. Speaking to other law enforcement leaders, Chief Davis said, “We have to talk about tough issues and let them [fellow officers] know where you stand as it pertains to police corruption or not reporting things correctly.” Chief Davis said, “On our news release I said, ‘Good cops hate bad cops more than the citizens do,’ because we work too hard to build our reputation to let bad cops come and ruin us.”

The evening concluded with a question and answer session between community members and the law enforcement officers who were present. “Transparency is the key; we want to deescalate anything you see on television because none of us want to see what is happening across the country,” said David Harvey, President of Halifax County NAACP.

Montre Freeman, Town Administrator for the Town of Enfield, spoke about the importance of law enforcement officers using the mental health resources provided to their departments. Freeman said, “Check your temperature at the end of the day.”

The event concluded with remarks from Dale Fey, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development at HCC and C4EE Ex-Officio Board Member.