By Tamas Mondovics
As the violence against or, tragic events involving law enforcement officers across the nation is making headlines, Hillsborough County has managed to stay off the chart by means of good relations.
“Our nation has sadly witnessed many recent tragic events involving law enforcement officers and a lack of communication within their communities,” said Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Lesley “Les”, Miller (District 3) a father of a police officer. “We are fortunate not to have had those tragedies occur in Hillsborough County, but we must stay proactive and work together to avoid them from happening.” To provide opportunity for constructive dialogue, the BOCC approved funding to organize a series of seven local Community-Law Enforcement Workshops (CLEW), scheduled from December, 2016 through September 30, 2017, using $30,000 in funding approved by the BOCC.
The workshops are sponsored by the BOCC, United Way Suncoast, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the School District of Hillsborough County. Aimed at improving and maintaining good relations between law enforcement and community members, the effort promises to provide adults and youth residing in Hillsborough County a chance to share their perspectives on community policing, offer recommendations and allow law enforcement officers to share the daily challenges they face.
“These workshops will safely allow for open and honest dialogue between communities and local law enforcement that is necessary to maintain positive and productive relations in our neighborhoods,” Miller said. Small group discussions, role playing, testimonials, a 90-minute ride-along with law enforcement, summary discussions, and the recording of recommendations to pass along to elected officials and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office are all on the list.
Administered by four retired veteran workshop personnel, the series will be divided into four adult, two youth workshops, and 1 leadership retreat.
The first event is now scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday, December, 5-6, from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at Clair-Mel Elementary School, 1025 S. 78th Street in Tampa, under the theme “Community and Law Enforcement working together toward greater intercultural understanding.”
Pre-registration deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 29. To register or to request an invitation to attend the first workshop and for more information call 272-5720 or email WilliamsLA@hillsboroughcounty.org. or JenkinsAD@hillsboroughcounty.org.