The westward Citizens Police Advisory Council would like to change the setup design at the next town hall meeting; a public dialogue between the Trenton Police Department and its residents.
Ray Ingram and Joe, co-chairs of the Citizens Police Advisory Council, said at the meeting, held last Thursday at police station on Hermitage Ave and Artisan St., that the Masonic Temple’s spacious ballroom seating wasn’t set up in a way that would foster or encourage a conversation between police and the community.
Raymond Foose, an employee at the Masonic Hall, said the seats were set up in an “auditorium style.”
The first meeting was earlier this year in February. The auditorium style seating consisted of a head table where a mixed group of the city’s elected officials, the mayor and his staff members, some individuals from the police department, activists and organizational leaders sat facing the audience. In addition the first two to three rows of seats were reserved for police officers and detectives who sat in the front facing the head table. Residents of the community, community leaders and journalists, as well as those from the surrounding areas, were seated behind those chairs reserved for the officers and detectives.
Rev. Karen Grazen, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Trenton, and Patrick Hall, co-chair of the Campaign to End The New Jim Crow, moderated the event. During the question and answer portion of the meeting Grazen and Hall moved back and forth through the aisles passing microphones to those who wanted to ask a question. Acting Trenton Police Director Ernest Parrey Jr. and former Police Director Jim Golden answered residents’ questions from the front of the table.
Members of the Citizen Police Advisory Council would like to change that.
Joe—a resident of Trenton who would not give me his last name— said he would like to see the rooms split into sections. Each section would represent a ward in Trenton. Ideally, in each one of those sections there would be a police officer that patrols that specific area of the city. According to Joe and Ingram, perhaps this could give the police officers a chance to deepen their relationships with at least some of the residents and (potentially) the new set up would give the community an opportunity to begin to build a relationship with the officers who patrol their streets.
The goal is to foster an ongoing dialogue between the community and police officers. It is a relationship that CPAC believes will help to foster community relationships, which could mean an increase in community participation.
The CPAC is looking to schedule this meeting in about two months, June 3, but the date hasn’t been confirmed.