Editorials

Here’s a pleasant encounter with police

Sun Herald

It's probably the last thing you want to see: flashing blue lights in the rear view mirror.

But it happens. Chances are you would feel a bit uncomfortable. Relax. Chances are you would get a ticket or a warning. Nothing more.

The overwhelming majority of police officers are there, as the motto says, to protect and serve. There are some bad officers across the country who have received a lot of attention. That doesn't necessarily translate into the officer walking up to your window being up to no good.

Fortunately, we have not had the problems that have bedeviled police departments in Ferguson, Mo., Chicago, Baltimore and other cities. Are our police departments perfect? Of course not. Could community relations improve? Always.

So, the Gulfport Police Department is taking the proactive approach. It's holding a community meeting Sunday aimed at fostering a better understanding of police and their procedures. It also could prevent a simple traffic stop from escalating.

It's a fantastic idea.

Not really sure what police expect you to do if you're pulled over? Sgt Damon McDaniel and other police officers will be there to explain.

They'll talk about your rights. Some may be surprised that police would be telling you what your rights are during a stop. We're not. Police officers protect our rights every day.

They'll talk about the open carry laws and discuss racial profiling.

And they'll set aside time for you to ask questions.

We urge anyone who has misgivings about their police department to get over to Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church, 14273 Old Highway 49 in Gulfport on Sunday at 3 p.m. Bring your questions and your constructive criticisms.

This is a great opportunity to build an even better relationship between law enforcement and the people they serve.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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