Montgomery County, Maryland, police and the people who live in the community want to make sure the county is safe for everyone. Police, the NAACP, religious leaders, politicians and residents met to talk about race issues and police relations in a packed room in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Eugene Anderson likes the county, but he is also concerned about racial profiling.
“I do worry. Because as a black man, I can be stereotyped based on a general description,” Anderson said. “There is always the chance that, driving through various communities in a nice vehicle, that I might be stopped based on a perception.”
County Executive Ike Leggett shared a story of how he was racially profiled by a Howard County police officer while putting up campaign signs.
“I am dressed in jeans, a sweater and a baseball cap, that's how I'm dressed.” Legget said. “He jumped out, swearing and cursing at me, and I'm saying to myself, this is not real.”
The community wants to prevent those types of situation from happening in Montgomery County. They are also concerned about what has happened around the nation in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas.
“Many of us have family members who are law enforcement officers. We want them to come home every night,” said Linda Plummer, president of the Montgomery County Unit of the NAACP. “But we also have young people we want to grow up and go to college.”
Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said he focuses on three things when it comes to his officers.
“Hire the right people, invest in their training and hold my officers accountable to do the job,” he said. “The way it needs to be done.”
The attendees agree respect is the key when it comes to the relationship between police and the community that the officers serve. A second town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Upcounty Regional Services Center in Germantown.