TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – The NAACP of Greater Texarkana hosted a panel with city leaders on the Texas side to address racial concerns in the local community. The NAACP said having an open dialogue is an effort to bring unity to the city and citizens of the town.
Black lives matter protests have sparked conversations in East Texas. Now, the NAACP Community Affairs Committee of Texarkana is bringing together residents, city leaders, and law enforcement to talk about diversity and racial discrimination issues.
“Want to make sure that the citizens of Texarkana, Texas are well aware of what’s going on in our city. That we do have experts that are monitoring what’s going on. And that there are agencies that are responding to the complaints of our citizens,” said Brian L. Matthews, NAACP Panel Moderator.
Chief Kevin Shutte said the Texarkana, Texas Police Department improved training and technology with body cameras. He said it protects both sides of the badge.
“That the things you see necessarily in the national media have already been dealt with and addressed in many ways in our community here.”
Shutte said part of having a diverse department starts with recruiting children. The department hosts programs at schools in the black community to encourage kids to become a part of law enforcement once they reach adulthood.
“If we have a certain percentage of African Americans then I would like to have a certain percentage of African American officers in my department that mirrors the diversity in our community.”
Texarkana, Texas city manager adds that local agencies strive to hire officers who want to stay and invest time in this community.
“We’ve had a lot of people with great potential and we’ll but started with them but they leave us. And I think that’s been extremely hard for us to get people to stay here,” said Shirley Jaster, Texarkana, Texas City Manager.
To learn more about the NAACP’s initiatives locally you can visit their website.