ORLANDO, Fla. – Officers from the Orlando Police Department met with dozens of community residents on Monday to bridge the gap between investigators and the community.
The police department released new numbers showing the city is on track to see fewer homicides this year compared to all of 2018.
There have been 23 homicides so far in 2019 in the city of Orlando, compared to 43 homicides for all of 2018.
Police chief Orlando Rolon Met with pastors and other community leaders at Monday's meeting. He said he and his officers are working to better relate to the community members.
“If we don’t have you engaged in our process, in all honesty, we can’t be as successful,” Chief Rolon said.
City Commissioner Regina Hill was also at the meeting and said it takes everyone to see change.
“Can we do better? Yes, we can, but it’s going to take the faith-based leaders, that’s why the faith-based is here. It’s going to take community leaders, that’s why I’m glad each and every one of you all showed up,” said Commissioner Hill.
Other topics discussed at the community meeting were response times, better transparency, de-escalation training, and use of force data.
Chief Rolon said he’s working to get a new simulator for de-escalation training. There was also a discussion of considering bringing back neighborhood patrol units.
Shaniqua Rose lives in Parramore and wanted to express how she feels about safety where she lives. She said Parramore residents often feel left out.
“We had table talks a few weeks ago and the Parramore kids say they feel safe at school but outside of that, they don’t feel safe,” Rose said.
She told News 6 many residents can’t relate to officers.
“We miss that in the community that we matter and we care and we are people too,” said Rose.
After resident concerns, we asked for homicide numbers in the Parramore area. Orlando Police said there have been 5 homicides in Parramore so far in 2019 compared to 11 homicides in Parramore for all of 2018.
Chief Rolon said he plans to meet with community leaders and higher-ups quarterly. There’s another community meeting scheduled for Thursday.