I'd like to respond to all of the Facebook posts and messages I have received concerning the recent traffic stop involving an Evansville police office and an Evansville fire fighter.
Following an emotional couple of weeks, it's time for our community to take a pause and reflect on the current state of affairs.
Whether you agree or disagree with the comments made at the Monday night City Council meeting, there is no doubt that passion exists, and we should use that energy to move forward.
Last week, I invited several inner city pastors, as well as the NAACP President to my office to discuss the incident and talk about the general state of race relations in Evansville.
We discussed practical steps that can be taken fairly quickly to address feelings of distrust, such as using body cameras that record police stops. The use of body cameras will provide an accurate accounting of encounters, giving added protections to both the officer and of the detained.
We also talked candidly and agreed on the need to build stronger relations in the African American community. Whether that entails additional training or outreach, the next step deserves a thoughtful and productive response.
Everyone agreed that the incident with Police Officer Jason Clegg and Fire Fighter George Madison was unfortunate, but I am determined to turn this negative into a more positive discussion that will benefit the entire community.
Next week, I will convene a meeting with the Concerned Clergy, City Council President Connie Robinson, and leadership of the Evansville Police Department, including Police Chief Billy Bolin. Following that meeting, it is incumbent on all of us to take a "hands-on" approach to address these important issues.
As I have said many times before, I am the Mayor of ALL residents of Evansville and with the support and help of everyone involved, I know this community can do better.