Athens public forum addresses community concerns with law enforcement

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The Athens Police Chief holds a forum tonight to discuss police and community relations.

This comes one week after one parent and several students were arrested after an altercation with police at Athens High School.

Tonight Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson took questions from members of the community he serves.

“To foster our ability to work closely with law enforcement and the community as a whole, and that benefits us all,” explained Athens resident, Melanie Amerson. 

Questions included the proper way to respond when being pulled over, and the kind of sensitivity training officers take.

This comes after a mother, her 18 year-old daughter and two other Athens High School students were arrested last week for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. There were a few questions from residents about the incident, but Chief Johnson did not answer them. 

“It’s not good that the incident happened, but it’s good that it spurred this, because now residents know that the police do want to communicate,” Amerson added. 

Some parents said their kids are afraid of police. They wanted to know what steps can be taken to improve community policing. 

“They should come around more to Boys & Girls Club, and every time the youth see the police, they should not just see them with the blue lights behind them,” said Michael Timberlake. 

Residents said bringing people together for an open dialogue is the first step to a better relationship between the community and law enforcement.

“We covered some ground but we have to make sure and understand that all of this starts and stops with respect,” Timberlake continued. 

The Police Chief said the department is still investing the high school brawl and believes the department will find areas it can improve on once it’s over. 

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