CMPD Program Changing Community Perspective - myfoxcarolinas.com

CMPD Program Changing Community Perspective

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg police graduated more than 40 members of its Citizens Academy this week, and one in particular said it changed his perspective of the department. Byron Martinez began the sessions last March and explained he started the program because he was fearful of officers. "I was hearing a lot of negatives from different cultures," but he said he also experienced it himself, "we're Hispanic, we're driving through a certain area, we're getting stopped."

Martinez has worked as a freelance interpreter and some of his clients, including Marlin Rios, said they feel the same. "The police don't give me a chance to explain anything and they don't care, maybe because of my color."

As a member of the academy, Martinez said he got an inside look into how area officers operate day to day. "I did a ride-a-long on Central. It was crazy how you have citizens that disrespect the police officer and some of these guys, they take it so calmly," he explained.

 Martinez said, "I thought that a police officer just arrests somebody, takes them in and that's it. These guys, they do a lot of work." Aside from the job, he said he also got to know the officer's personal side, about their families and hobbies. The impact of the program has changed how he views the department and Martinez said he now feels like he can address concerns with police. It's a line of communication he wants to open for others, like Rios, who have fears of their own, so he's spreading the work about the academy.

"I want them to feel happy. I want them to feel safe. I want them to feel that Charlotte's not a bad area," said Martinez.

If you're interested in the program, check it out here.



 


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