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Durham community members, police have lunch to improve relationship

Posted 4:45 p.m. Tuesday
Updated 6:11 p.m. Tuesday

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— Officers who serve in and around McDougald Terrace, Durham's largest public housing complex, are now hosting weekly lunches with residents in an effort to improve community-police relations.

McDouglad Terrace is the same neighborhood where police shot and killed a man in November.

On Tuesday afternoons, police cars line the streets in McDouglad Terrace. The goal is for officers and community members to get to know each other.

Captain Daniel Edwards proposed the idea.

"To get beyond the badge," Edwards said. "I always say as long as I am Officer Edwards, it makes it difficult for people to really connect with me. I need them to know Daniel."

Several residents said it's been effective so far.

"Some of the kids, it changes their mentality," Ashley Canady said. "And what they've heard about the police."

Ashley Canady comes to the lunch almost every week and brings her daughter to teach her that police officers are friends.

"Eventually if they keep coming and seeing the cops doing positive things in the community, it could change their mindset," Canady said. "So that's what our goal is. To have them see positive stuff and hopefully, one day, they'll be able to see the good."

The lunches have been so successful, police said they're hoping to expand them into the Cornwallis public housing community.

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