Last May, Beloit College invited officers from the Beloit Police Department on campus to discuss the use of force on campus as a part of #MakingEquityRealatBeloit. This sparked the beginning of #BlackLivesMatterBeloit and created a relationship of understanding and collaboration with the police department. Since then members of the college community and greater Beloit community have participated in many department training exercises and discussions.
According to Ron Watson, assistant professor of health and society, the next stage in developing the relationship was a three-part series of community conversations co-sponsored by #BLMB and the Beloit Police Department, which concluded this semester.
At the last event in March, attendees were encouraged to share suggestions, with the general consensus pushing for more community involvement from individual police officers, training to better facilitate respectful engagement on the police’s part with the public, training on gender and transgender issues, and opportunities for officers to inform the public on conditions and reasons behind arrests.
“We hope to expand both the role and input of students, faculty, and others in scenario training,” Ron says. While Chief David Zibolski did not get back to us by press time, Ron commented the Chief is interested in the creation of online best practice videos.
While the future of the relationship between the parties is not certain, Ron mentioned the possible inclusion of officers in Sustained Dialogue to help the ongoing effort of reducing bias.