After the recent shooting of Black teenager Vonderrick Myers Jr. , St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has an opportunity to mend the racial divide. Dotson told reporters that police officers exhibited great restraint against demonstrators even though several police vehicles were damaged. Dotson continued by stating that “We will do everything we can to support everybody’s right to protest and allow their voices to be heard as long as it does not infringe on other people’s rights.

While St. Louis Police Chief Dotson has taken the position that demonstrates the rights of people to civilly express their discontent, he also can extend his efforts by developing community relations that will enhance the quality of life for those that the St. Louis Police serve. He can begin this process by inviting community civil rights leaders an local activist to participate in a strategic planning sessions for avoiding racial tensions associated with events such as the Vonderritt Myers shooting. Dotson had a great opportunity to begin this process when several community leaders gathered at the police headquarters to inquire about more information about the Vonderritt Myers shooting.

The first step is to choose a neutral location for the meetings. Next, the St. Louis Police Chief would solicit the participation of local civil rights activist and other concerned adults. Next, you are to lead the group in developing a shared vision for improving relations between the St. Louis Police department and the local community. Finally, working with you group you are to agree on ten goals which include objectives, timeframes, persons who will complete each objective as part of the strategic plan.

As a result of this process, the community will view St. Louis Police Chief Dotson as a person who genuinely seeks to eliminate the racial devise between police and the community. Black parents who participate in the process will no longer view White police officers as instruments of destruction for Black teenagers. Black teenagers will no longer feel that White cops hate Black teenagers. Finally, St. Louis Police Chief Dotson and his staff, and the community will close the racial divide which will ultimately increase the quality of life for all St. Louis residents.


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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
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