CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – State leaders came together to talk about police reform in South Carolina through a round table discussion in the Lowcountry.
Hosted by Americans for Prosperity South Carolina, panelists touched on a few topics such as police training, finding ways to connect police and the community, and lightening the load on officers.
- Congresswoman Nancy Mace
- Former U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles
- Frank Knaack, Executive Director, ACLU South Carolina
- Allie Menegakis, Founder, SC4CJR
- Leon Ford, Activist and Survivor of a Police-Involved Shooting
- Jerry Blassingame, Executive Director, Soteria Community Development Corporation
- Alesia Rico Flores, SC Director of Policy and Systems Change, Root and Rebound
The first question presented to panelists was about the relationship between police and community members.
“Communities do not want to work with law enforcement in a lot of places. And we need communities to help law enforcement solve crimes,” said Jeremiah Mosteller of Americans for Prosperity SC.
Some panelists believe problems stem from officers being stretched too thin
“We make them wear too many hats that they just don’t have the resources, and frankly the training and experience and education to handle,” said Allie Menegakis, a criminal defense attorney.
Congresswoman Nancy Mae chimed in to comment about a growing challenge facing police.
“I’ve been learning about the mental health crisis that our police are facing and how they are…rather than focusing on violent crime, they’ve been pulled away,” said Mace.
A few ideas were introduced as possible solutions to the problems presented in the discussion.
“We need to create social service programs to address these issues and divert them away from law enforcement, we need more funding for mental health treatment,” said Alesia Rico Flores of Root and Rebound.
One host of the event said starting these, sometimes tough, conversations are the best way to see positive change for both the community and law enforcement.
“Our hope is that this conversation will create a ripple effect here in Charleston and across the state,” said Candace Carroll, the director of Americans for Prosperity SC.