TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Protesters across the country, demand reform from law enforcement agencies. In Texarkana, Texas the police department is working to provide accountability and transparency to the public.
“We have been doing it right for quite some time. Texas is far ahead of a lot of other states in law enforcement reform.”
Protests in Texarkana and across the country opened up new conversations for the city’s police chief and the community he serves.
“I just wanted our community to know that the very things that they are demanding of departments in other places, we’ve been doing in the Texarkana, Texas police department for quite some time.”
In recent week’s Chief Kevin Schutte has been meeting with a number of organizations in Texarkana, including the NAACP.
“The most important thing is to continue these dialogues. I’m so thankful for every opportunity that I have to be able to talk and to converse with members of the community, who may have had a misunderstanding of our police department.”
After repeatedly hearing the same questions he decided to create the Where We Stand website. It’s a comprehensive look at policies within the department.
“Making sure there’s policies in place and that we are guarding those policies and making absolutely sure that every member of our department adheres to those policies and if they do not then there’s swift action, disciplinary action that takes place.
The use of “chokeholds” and “strangleholds” are not authorized and every two years, officers are required to attend eight-hours of deescalation tactics training
“They’re talking about deescalation and racial profiling and the things that go along with that. We instruct those courses ourselves. We not only have to do them because of our recognition program, but we instruct those courses for other agencies in the region.”
To provide transparency all 91 officers on the police force have body cameras. The department also requires any officer who sees excessive force to intervene when in a position to do so.