Elkhart mayor, police chief, community discuss police relations

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 11:24 PM EDT
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - People gathered for a conversation about community and police relations at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Elkhart Thursday night.

A few months ago, when the protests were happening in response to George Floyd’s death, Mayor Rod Roberson, the Elkhart Police Department and the community agreed to start working together to build more transparency on all fronts.

“So the community and the police department want peace. They want dialogue. They want cooperation and they want relationships. It’s maybe just changing the way those relationships have been built in the past and community members changing the way they have interacted with police,” said Corinne Straight-Reed, Director of Communications for Mayor Rod Roberson.

“If we don’t talk about the conversation then we can never understand what the community, what their issues are, and we can never understand the issues that the police have,” said community activist Curbiee Coleman.

During the panel discussion at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Roberson and Police Chief Kris Seymore talked about de-escalation training, excessive force reporting and how to improve racial relations.

“That means we serve everyone in this community equally. We don’t get to pick and choose who that is,” said Seymore.

“To see the mayor and Chief Seymore go out to public gatherings and talk together is really just an extension of conversations that are ongoing,” said Straight-Reed.

The city said it will fund the police department.

“Let’s make sure we are policing the appropriate proportionality is occurring,” Roberson said

The moderator ended the discussion by giving a shout out to the mayor and police chief.

“I believe we have a very good administration and a very good police department.”

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