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Raleigh police chief hopes conversations 'clear up some misconceptions'

Posted September 7

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— Tensions from a community that sometimes feels targeted by police were the focus of a meeting Wednesday night in Raleigh.

The meeting at Paul’s Barber Shop was an opportunity for residents to share their concerns and for Raleigh police, including Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, to work on building a trust with the people they serve and protect.

Barber shop owner Paul Engram said he hears a lot of talk in his shop, and sometimes the talk is about police.

“They are being targeted or a situation went a little further than it had to be,” Engram said.

Engram wanted to get to the bottom of the stories he was hearing, so he invited Deck-Brown and her officers in.

“The important thing is we go where the people are. Today, it was the barber shop,” Deck-Brown said.

Bias among officers, the treatment of the mentally ill and the question of when an officer should shoot were all topics of concern among those who attended the meeting. Deck-Brown said she welcomes the conversation.

“Tell me what’s on your heart and your mind and let’s clear up some misconceptions,” she said.

Engram believes officers and residents are on the same team. He is also the father of a 9-year-old boy and said his son is a big reason behind why he invited officers to his barber shop.

“It was my love for my son and my community that I felt like I needed to bridge that gap,” he said.

Deck-Brown has taken part in a number of similar forums in recent months and said there will be more in the future.


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