Missed Roundtable? Here’s What Happened! (5/22)

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Missed Roundtable? Here’s What Happened! (5/22)

GH Student Services

GH Student Services

GH Student Services

Ideliya Khismatova, Student Life Editor

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On Wednesday, May 22nd, the school’s Roundtable, a discussion forum made for students where they can have conversations with other students, teachers, and members of administration on important issues at our school, held a conversation with some members of the Cary PD.

The conversation was mainly centered towards the Cary PD. The Cary PD acts somewhat differently than other police departments, and have a more positive reputation than some other PDs may have. A few students shared personal experiences they’ve had with the Cary PD that may have led them to having such a positive reputation.

One girl elaborated that after the mosque shooting in New Zealand, the police came to every prayer that happened at the local mosque to help those inside feel safe. She stated that even if the police weren’t Muslim, they still understood how they felt and chose to help them out in the community.

Another girl mentioned that the videos she sees on the news of police officers often misaligns with what she sees in person, as the stuff on TV is typically much more violent. A student hypothesized that this might be because people develop their opinions on the police through direct experiences. Since a good amount of people living in Cary have never had a direct interaction with a police officer, they are often forced to develop an opinion on them through the media.

The conversation then moved towards how the police officers respond to events in a unique manner. One girl stated that police officers are all people, so as all people are different, all police officers are different.

A member of the Cary PD stepped in during this part to explain how they, as police officers, are there to simply enforce the law- they don’t make the law. He explained that the process of an arrest is relatively simple: a person breaks the law and the officer explains why that person is being arrested. If the person arrested is refusing, it doesn’t change the fact that they will still be arrested. What it does change, however, is how the officer has to approach the person.

If the delinquent is resisting, the officer has to find a way to get them to comply, and the cases on the news are often the worst case scenarios of this situation. He emphasized what the news doesn’t show is the first part, where the officer explains in (what should be) a normal tone as to why that person is being arrested.

One person asked the officers a question: How does the PD treat cases with people who have mental health problems?

One officer explained that mental health cases are relatively rare so they are not encountered often. However, when they are encountered, the PD typically sends someone who has had specific training. There is a program known as CIT, which although is not mandatory in Cary, is strongly encouraged. He explained that out of the 200 officers in the Cary PD, about 50 have had training (25%). He also said that if a mental health problem is reported, 9/10 times the officer that will be sent out is someone who has experienced the training.

He also stated that although the arrest will likely still happen, this doesn’t mean the person with the mental health problem will still end up going to jail. After the arrest, it is likely that the person will be taken to a mental health facility and treated.

A teacher asked: How can we help create a strong and “better” police department?

The police officers did not have a simple answer. Mostly, they said that increasing taxes is the best way to go because police departments are almost entirely funded by taxes. To train more people, they need more money. So overall, the best thing to do is to advocate for electoral candidates who want to increase training of police officers.

Thank you to everyone who came to this meeting and to the police officers who took time out of their day to talk to everyone there!

Roundtable couldn’t have been so successful without all of you who came, so a big thank you to you.

Roundtable meetings will be continuing next year, so be sure to stay tuned for when those will be!

And a separate thank you to our founders, advisers, and staff/faculty that helped make this happen throughout the year: Mrs. Sarah Hill, Officer Clifton, Mr. Richardson, Ms. Nation, Mr. Bollhoeffer, Mr. McIntyre, Mrs. Summers, and Tru Pettigrew.