VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Joseph Griffin shared his thoughts about the importance of communication and respect, regardless of skin color, after his own encounter with deputies last month.
Griffin said the deputies stopped him during his afternoon jog as they searched for a lawn equipment burglar who had a similar description, according to a witness.
“Empathy, empathy, empathy. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes whether you are the person being detained or you’re the officer doing the detaining. Just think as if it were you on the other side,” said Griffin.
That encounter sparked a larger conversation and a workshop on Thursday, dedicated to implicit bias and cultural awareness that was led by Reverend John Long.
“The goal is to make the command staff aware of what bias is, what culture is so as they’re leading the deputies that they lead, they can be aware of instances where implicit bias may be entering into their interactions with the citizens,” said Reverend Long.
Long also said it gives deputies another tool to de-escalate a situation. Sheriff MIke Chitwood and Griffin last month’s encounter is one that should be modeled after because of the immediate dialogue and understanding between both parties.
“Nothing is ever going to be perfect. But what you want to do is, you want to try to educate your workforce and educated the community as best you can,” said Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
Sheriff Chitwood said they will have workshops for the rest of the staff in the near future and will incorporate these conversations when training new hires.