CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police is taking several steps to bridge the gap with the community following protests that sparked last year.
Dozens of officers were training Thursday to be used as the first response to future protests and confrontations, not force, but a conversation team.
A team of officers will be deployed in intense situations to deescalate the crowd and simply talk to the community when emotions are running high.
Video from a December protest that sparked after a grand jury declined to prosecute Officer Brentley Vinson in the shooting death of Keith Scott shows members of a CMPD Conversation Team in crowd.
This team is now training with actual community members.
“This is important so what we can eliminate the possibility for things that happened in the past, in 2016, resulting in rioting, destruction of property and loss of life.”
Noble Ali is one of 15 volunteers working with 35 officers for their first training session. The team ran through several scenarios including a protest reenactment, the scene of a shooting and police contact.
“Ultimately, we’re looking to gain a relationship for our citizens, our young men and women, to be respected as upstanding citizens and human beings. To be loved and to be protected by the public service officers.”
For the last several months CMPD has been working with the Charlotte Community Coalition to implement this team.
Those taking part in the training said it’s in preparation for future incidents and that the Conversation Team would be the first to deploy in those intense situations.