About fifty people attended a forum on race and policing at Wright State Tuesday evening intended to move community members from dialogue to action around racial bias and police.
“There’s a difficult and torturous history of race and policing in this country,” said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, who helped facilitate. “That history is not over. We’re still living it.”
Biehl says there’s a lot of work to be done, especially in light of recent police shootings. He says community-based policing has already reduced crime in Dayton, though he’s not sure how to measure racial bias in the police force.
Ten members of the Dayton Police Department were present, but no other local police departments were represented.
Dr. Kimberly Barrett, the Vice President for Multicultural Affairs and Community Engagement at Wright State, helped pull together the event. She says she hopes the talks lead to action, like police engagement with the community, or diversity trainings for police.
“So that they understand things like implicit bias, so that they understand how certain groups might feel disenfranchised,” she said.
Wright State is holding several more conversations this spring—the dates are still to be decided.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.