Perry Police Department joins project to strengthen community ties

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PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– The Perry Police Department has joined a new project in an effort to develop closer relationships with the community.

The TRUST Initiative was started by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. The goal is to invite law enforcement agencies to commit to building stronger communities and to provide assistance while establishing trust.

Randall Walker, the mayor of Perry, believes the TRUST Initiative will create more communication between residents and those who serve them.

Walker stated, “I think that we need to understand the needs of our citizens and communicate with them. And then get our police officers in those communities so that people do trust them.”

The Perry Police department is working with Mayor Walker, a city council member, and four community leaders to build a TRUST task force.

The group has met a few times to discuss how to grow the project. The team will continue to meet and create new ideas each month.

Perry’s policing philosophy 

Chief Steve Lynn says the project fits Perry’s policing style perfectly.

Chief Lynn said, “We have a community policing philosophy of treating people appropriately. And it’s just a natural extension of what we do. It fits with our policing philosophy, it fits with our philosophy about how to interact with the community, and so we were happy to be a part of it.”

There are four phases to the TRUST Initiative. Perry is currently in Phase 1 which deals with planning and acknowledgment of the past.

Chief Lynn says he hopes the project will connect officers to the community in a deeper way.

“We’ll look at what kind of historical wrongs that may be between the community or segments of the community. And then also contemporary issues that need to be addressed,” Chief Lynn said. “Then we’ll build bridges and have conversations and come up with programs to address those.”

The Lagrange Police Department joined the TRUST Initiative first after examining the lynching death of Austin Callaway. The incident caused years of mistrust between the community and the police department, which they hope to amend.

Perry is one of seven police departments in Georgia to join this initiative. Also, the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police publishes the results of each police department.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.