Recommendations discussed to bridge gap between Orlando police and the community

Chief Rolon wants to win the trust of the citizens

ORLANDO, Fla. – There were heated conversations and candid discussions at a community meeting Tuesday aimed at bridging the gap between the Orlando Police Department and the community they serve.

Community leaders met with police to discuss implementing recommendations.

This, after a series of community meetings and police training sessions led by nationally recognized law enforcement trainer Dr. Randy Nelson from Bethune Cookman University.

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Dr. Nelson was hired by the city of Orlando last year to improve community-police relations shortly after George Floyd was killed.

“I think this action plan sets a road map for us to be able to do this work,” Nelson said.

Parramore resident Tasha Robinson-Banks said she wants her neighborhood to be safe and told News 6 she’s also all for building better police-community relations.

“I do think there’s this opportunity to misunderstand each other,” said Banks. “I want the kids to be able to understand that when they’re in trouble, that they still can reach out to the police - and they’re not just here to arrest you.”

As the Parramore recommendations were read, many people called for action and accountability.

“I understand we have to start somewhere, but we keep starting at the same place,” community member Lawanna Gelzer said.

The recommendations include building community trust, exposing kids to more positive police experiences, infusing community policing throughout the structure of OPD, and more.

“I want us to be mindful about talking about what the police aren’t doing. They’re doing some things, and I’ve seen the transition in the mindset,” Commissioner Regina Hill said.

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said he agrees there’s more work to be done.

“Obviously win the trust of our citizens - and have the citizens working with us to try to achieve what we all want -- a better community,” said Chief Rolon.

Chief Rolon says there’s no set timeline on fully putting in place these recommendations, but it’s a work in progress.

There are similar meetings happening soon for the Washington Shores and Mercy Drive areas. News 6 will keep you posted.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.