SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins held a virtual town hall Thursday morning for a “Conversation on Policing and Community Relations.”
Reaching out through Facebook Live, Mayor Perkins spoke about what it was like growing up black in Shreveport and fearing the police. He said his administration continues to focus on community policing.
“I’m confident that I set up a culture with our police officers to be respectful to our citizens. I talked about community-oriented policing. Our police officers respecting our citizens and taking more of a guardian mindset instead of a military type mindset,” Perkins said.
People spoke about their thoughts. Including addressing white privilege.
“It is very critical that white folks listen. Genuinely listen to black folks. Not just the mayor, not just the minister but what black folks are trying to say. Do not discount what they say just because were white and they’re black,” John Ratcliff said.
“Black folks don’t trust the police. That’s the best way to put it. There’s a history between our community and law enforcement,” said another citizen.
Perkins said they’re reviewing excessive force policies and working to get federal funding for body cameras.
“We have some things on the books already. Do we want to go further, absolutely. The police force is there for the community so it pains me when there’s this sense of a gap between, the closer we can bring them together the safer we’re going to be,” Perkins said.
Last December Perkins created a Race Commission to bring community leaders to the table.
“I don’t know how I feel about the Race Commission. In that, I’m kind of embarrassed that in 2020 that I can say we live in a city that needs a Race Commission. You’d think we’d be way beyond that. But we’re not. The United States is not quite frankly,” said Theron Jackson, pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church.
Mayor Perkins said he along with the Coroner and the District Attorney work for the people as elected officials if anyone wants to reach out with questions.