WARREN — Three local probation officials will teach law enforcement officers from across the state how to prevent potentially negative situations from escalating to tragic ones during a symposium Thursday and Friday in Columbus.
Jake E. Jones Sr., Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program; Vincent E. Peterson, Trumbull County Adult Probation; and Darryl L. Rogers Sr., Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, will highlight their “New Jack”-style of effectively working with African-American men during situations that could become explosive during a two-day symposium sponsored by a sub-committee of the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections.
“In our presentations, we are primarily stressing encounters with young African-American males, between 16 to 30 years old, that may have different cultures and beliefs than the law enforcement and correctional officers they are encountering,” Jones said.
Peterson said law enforcement and corrections personnel should be trained to understand the communities in which they are serving, including triggers that may unintentionally escalate situations they encounter.
“It is understanding the population you’re serving and meeting them in atmospheres that are less threatening,” Peterson said. “It is guys being willing to go to barbershops, recreational centers and community events introducing themselves, so relationships will form.
“If the work is done beforehand, when situations arise, then they may be willing to work with them during emergency situations,” Peterson said.
The goal of the seminar is to convey the need for both those in law enforcement and people living in communities of color to find ways to work and respect one another.
“We have to be mindful of the uniqueness of each community,” Rogers said.
Rogers said some in the black community do not trust police because of what they personally have experienced or what they have heard and have seen happen to friends and family members over generations.
“We have to know that these barriers exist,” he said. “If we are going to work together to overcome the barriers, they must be acknowledged.”
The estimated two-hour keynote presentation the three men will give is a portion of a longer program they have been giving to police departments and other correctional departments in Trumbull County and other communities over the last decade, Jones said.
The three men have combined career experiences of more than 75 years and are using what they have learned in the presentations. They have been providing some aspects of this presentation for 13 years, adding to it as they have grown in their own abilities.
“There have been situations highlighted across the country in the last several years where better law enforcement-community relations may have prevented confrontations,” Peterson said.
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