Police Relations Discussed at MACO Conference - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Police Relations Discussed at MACO Conference

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Chief Hank Stawinski (Photo:WBOC) Chief Hank Stawinski (Photo:WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.-   With what seem like monthly, if not weekly flare ups between police and the community, there has been a big push to change the way policing is done.

At a breakfast Thursday morning at the Ocean City Convention Center during the Maryland Association of Counties Conference, guest speakers argued that while the temptation is there to focus solely on the here and now, a more long form approach is needed.

"I would certainly say that quality of life drives a lot of the problems with which we're facing.  I would also say that these quality of life issues are baked in early in life," said Dr. Joseph Wright, a pediatrician from Howard County.

Also in attendance was Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski, who says in the past 10 years, his department has far improved their relationship with the public by improving quality of life.

"The question about force, the questions that are on most people's minds today are an outgrowth of the fundamentals.  What I'm talking about today is the obligation of law enforcement to collaborate with all forms of government to shift environments," said Stawinski.

In Stawinski's community, they focused on several areas and improved what was needed.    He says each jurisdiction will need to find out what their community needs.

"There is no magic solution.  It has to be tailored to individual communities. Again, it's the hard work of small things, because you only understand  the context of the community  by being constantly engaged with it," said Stawinski.

"Being able to come off the pedestal is a critical part and also for the public to feel comfortable approaching folks who in the past they would have felt intimidated to approach," said Dr. Wright.

By making police more accessible, and not more authoritarian, these men believe the future of police relations is bright in America.

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