Area Police Work to Regain Public's Trust as Rally Anniversary Nears
People in Charlottesville are continuing to question police legitimacy and trust as the anniversary of August 12 looms.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People in Charlottesville are continuing to question police legitimacy and trust as the anniversary of August 12 looms.
The community spoke out about what should be done differently and how first responders can implement their plan on Wednesday, June 27.
Multiple officials spoke with the community at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Wednesday night.
Although they cannot divulge all of their plans to the public, they say this year they will “get it right."
However, people are still skeptical about putting their trust in the police.
“I think they have a lot to prove, and I don't think that they are going to earn that until we see what happens and how we all wake up on the 13th of August,” says Susan Minasian, the pastor at Sojourners United Church of Christ.
Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney, Fire Chief Andrew Baxter, and Albemarle County Police Chief Ron Lantz answered questions from the community on Wednesday evening about planning for the summer.
“We now have one voice - that we respond the same, that we train the same, that we have the same language, but also that we have the same understanding and agreements,” says Brackney.
Some people in the crowd offered suggestions, and police say the department is working with multiple agencies.
"We have commitments and collaboration and affirmations from everyone - and that goes as high up as your governor’s office, as your state police,” says Brackney.
Others asked questions about weapons, vulnerable neighborhoods, and if police would be able to identify white supremacists if such groups do come to the city.
“We absolutely know every one of the groups, we have the intelligence behind the scenes,” says Lantz.
All the panelists agreed that they are obligated to protect everyone, and they understand that trust needs to be rebuilt.
“I think everyone wants to get this right this time, I really do believe that,” says Brackney. “We will plan, we will implement that plan, we will execute that plan, and we will do everything humanly possible to protect everyone.”
More information will be on the Resilient Cville website.
Chief Baxter says there will also be news conferences as the anniversary of the rally edges closer.