It’s no secret that severe trust issues exist between the black community and the police, which can lead to some potentially dangerous situations. For Dr. Randy Nelson, Director of the Center for Law & Social Justice (CLSJ) and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Bethune-Cookman University, that challenge is problematic but not unsolvable. The CLSJ staff and associates are leaders in the effort to solve these challenges and are currently providing law enforcement and community engagement training for the Jacksonville and Pasco County Sheriff Offices.
Bethune-Cookman University is one of the black colleges supported by the Black College Fund which provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities.
Recently, the CLSJ was selected by the City of Orlando and the Orlando Police Department to develop and facilitate community engagement workshops for the Orlando Police Department and community residents, stakeholders, and youth within the Parramore, Washington Shores, and Mercy Drive communities.
The project also involved developing an individualized Community Safety & Engagement Action Plan for each community. The project is designed to increase public safety and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
One of the recommendations contained in the Parramore Community Safety & Engagement Action Plan, the Adopt-A-Block initiative, was implemented on Saturday, April 10th. Orlando Police Department officers and Parramore community leaders joined forces to walk door to door, introducing themselves residents within a one block radius to strengthen the level of trust between local law enforcement and the community.
Soon to be Criminal Justice graduates and the CLSJ interns Destine Taylor and Chanyse Hollins joined Drs. Nelson & Dr. Kideste Yusef for this event.
“Creating safer communities where all individuals can call on police services without fear or apprehension is a major goal of our work. This includes holding law enforcement accountable for misconduct, repairing the harm, and working collaboratively with residents and local police to increase public safety and collective efficacy, especially in the current climate where struggles for racial and social justice are paramount,” says Dr. Yusef.
There’s truly something different here at B-CU, and Dr. Nelson thinks so too. “Regardless of an individual's race, religion, socioeconomic status, or party affiliation, we all deserve a safe and nurturing environment to live and raise a family. Law enforcement and the communities they serve both have a vested role in ensuring the community's safety and well-being. Policing is not something to be done to the community but rather with the community. To this end, the Bethune-Cookman University is deliberate and intentional about developing the next generation of criminal justice professionals and leaders.”
“We take immense pride in educating and preparing our students to be social change agents. We can change the world; we are changing the world, one community at a time.”
Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, FL
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.