ORLANDO, Fla. – The newest recruiting class from Orlando Police met with community members on Thursday in an effort to build relationships between officers and the neighborhoods they serve.
Due to the pandemic, the roundtable discussion was held in a virtual forum with small breakout groups.
The meetup was part of the recruit onboarding process, which has been pioneered by Orlando Police.
Chief Orlando Rolon said the opportunities for conversation are critical to help build the trust necessary for successful community policing.
“Allowing (officers) an opportunity to hear from the people that we serve from the different neighborhoods that make Orlando the city that it is, is golden,” Rolon said.
Josue Torres is a new hire from Altamonte Springs and said the discussions give officers valuable insight.
“It kind of sets what we know the expectations of their police officers are,” Torres said. “At the end of the day, we’re here for the community.”
During Thursday’s forum, there were also discussions about high tensions nationwide between the black community and law enforcement.
New recruit David Duffus said he grew up with a resentment towards police, but he’ll now use new role as an officer to build relationships.
“I don’t want them to think that we’re being targeted just because of the color of our skin,” Duffus said. “I just want them to know it’s okay to come up and talk to a cop if you need help.”
Leaders with Orlando police said the meeting on Thursday was an all-day event and will look towards further expanding its community outreach with future recruitment classes.