According to ABC 6/ Fox 28, Columbus Police officers are now on the beat to close cultural gaps and build respect within city minority groups.
“People sometimes don’t feel they are well represented on the police force,” said Sgt. Nick Konves, who now serves serve as a Diversity Inclusion Officer within the Columbus LGBT community.
“There’s a perception, where they don’t understand, why police do some of the things they do, and it just takes time, talking to them,” said Konves, who is a member of the LGBT community.
Konves is one of three officers who will be assigned to work on cultural issues with several minority groups in Columbus. CPD is also reaching out to the African-American, Somalian, and Latino communities.
Columbus Sgt. James Fuqua never expected he would wear a badge while roaming the halls of South High School. As a teenager he met a Columbus Police officer who helped him turn his life around and taught him how to look at law enforcement in a positive light. Fuqua is now a veteran Columbus officer, who was just promoted to sergeant and is now hoping to teach kids the positive impact of wearing a uniform.
“Get them to understand being a police officer is not a bad thing, they are not out to get minorities or a specific group of people,” said Sgt. Fuqua.
Police are now in the process of hiring a third officer who will work with the Latino and Somalian communities. The new officer positions come on the heels of a series of community meetings where residents will be able to voice concerns and compliments to the police department
Three more meetings will be held in Columbus:
March 5th @ Linden McKinley High School, 1320 Duxberry Avenue
March 9th @ East High School, 1500 East Broad Street
March 12th @ Crossroads Baptist Church, 5077 Cleveland Avenue
These forums will provide the Chief and her executive staff an opportunity to listen to community concerns and accept suggestions regarding the Columbus Division of Police. Upon completion of the community forums and reviewing the national, state, and local recommendations, Chief Jacobs will draft recommendations based upon best practices.