Here’s how Orlando police recruits’ meetings are better preparing them for duty

Recruits get to hear from community before hitting the streets

ORLANDO, Fla. – As part of his field training, Orlando police recruit Officer Wakens Leonard was required to meet virtually with the people he will serve in his community before serving them.

“Community leaders, people who are activists with different organizations, LGBTQ+, Black Lives Matter, those organizations, business owners, residents of the community, Lake Nona, Rosemont, The Willows, Parramore,” Leonard said.

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One of the people on the Zoom meeting suggested that Leonard complete his reports outside of his patrol car instead of sitting inside so he can be more accessible and people can come up and talk to him.

Leonard said he now does that every time he files paperwork, placing his laptop on the trunk of his car.

It’s one of many suggestions and tips that have come out of the virtual get-together, required of every OPD recruit before hitting the street.

“A lot of people want to see more transparent law enforcement agencies, and this is a great way to have the residents be involved,” Leonard said.

Chief Orlando Rolon first required the meetings of new recruits in 2017 but had to pause them at the start of the pandemic. Late last year, he continued the meetings virtually.

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