By: Sarah Duran
In a continuation of their last meeting in October, the Greater Bethel Baptist Church hosted part two of “A Look at Race, Law Enforcement, and Equality in San Marcos”. The purpose of the panel was to create a safe haven for the community, Texas State students and law enforcement in discussing police and community relations.
Perception was a key topic of the discussion. Meeting panelist Pastor AD Dillard says a negative connotation, expectation or assumption can play a huge role in how we treat a police officer or community member.
“One of the things I would look for in this evenings discussion is ways to remove the ignorance so everyone walks away with a greater knowledge as well as those who are served as well as those who are serving,” Dillard said.
The ultimate goal of the town hall meetings is to propose solutions for equality in San Marcos. SMPD Chief and panelist Chase Stapp says that equal treatment is a two way street.
“We have to be willing to behave the way you all want us to behave when it comes treating people, but at the same time the people that we police our citizens if you will have to be willing to be open minded enough to say give them a chance maybe they’re trying to do it right,” he said.
Feeling fortunate to live in a smaller community, Texas State Senior and panel attendee Meliah Macon says she felt the panel helped attendees gain a greater understanding of SMPD protocol.
“I think it was a great discussion. I think that this stuff needs to happen more often like I said earlier. It’s really just to share emotions and bring out problems from both sides and have everyones opinion out there.”
The church plans to host future discussions to create permanent solutions for the community. However, the next panel date has not been set.