FVSU holds policing and race panel forum

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FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – For the first time, Fort Valley State University (FVSU) students and faculty, questioned local police department heads about their concerns.

"The forum was pretty informative," says FVSU student Xzavier Carter.  "It really captured my attention.  We covered in class how the community actually has an impact on police enforcement."

The Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Uppinder Mehan, believes one of the significant purposes of this forum is for community members to gain good working relationships with law enforcement.

"It’s very important that our students and the public at large have an opportunity to have a dialogue with police officials who are on the front lines," adds Mehan.

Fort Valley Police Director Lawrence Spurgeon, Warner Robins Police Chief Brett Evans, and FVSU Public Safety Director Kenneth Morgan made presentations and answered questions.

"I enjoyed the opportunity to be transparent and just show them that we’re real people," explains Spurgeon.   "Just because I have a title does not mean I’m not a human being.  A lot of people don’t get a chance to interact with this level of law enforcement, dealing with chiefs and the level of experience that was on the stage."

The police officials say one of the highlights of the forum for them was the question and answer portion.  Chief Evans tells 41NBC listening to the students makes him concerned about how policing will change over the next few years.

"It’s important that my officers know and understand that people are viewing them from the outside as well," comments Evans.  "You can’t internalize everything as an overall picture from the community.  There’s a lot of people paying attention."
   
The head of Fort Valley campus police shared with the audience how interacting with law enforcement can escalate out of control.

"I want to ensure that our young people understand how to interact with police, how to deal with situations that are bad and be able to come out of it with a positive result," says Morgan.

Mehan says the Policing and Race Panel Discussion was so successful he is planning to host the forum each semester.