On Thursday, June 22nd, The Marion County Sheriff's Office will host its second installment of Through My Eyes at Martin University.
The program focuses on the dynamics of traffic stops and the perception of both police officers and the public. The goal is for both law enforcement and community members to learn what can be done by both groups to make a traffic stop easier and safer for all involved. During the first event held back in January 2023, Michael Mitchell, a former police officer and professor of criminal justice at Martin University, conducted surveys to gauge public opinion during traffic stops.
During the gathering, Mitchell emphasized that "Nobody hates bad cops more than good cops," aiming to highlight the disparities in perception between officers and the public by allowing them to switch roles. Ardell Bell, a community member participating in the exercise, shared his fear and anxiety when being pulled over by the police. Bell expressed the desire for officers to understand the perspective of the individuals they stop and find ways to make the situation more comfortable for everyone involved.
To foster better understanding, community members like Bell and others swapped roles with the officers, taking on the role of conducting traffic stops themselves. This experience aimed to provide officers with insight into the other side of the interaction and promote understanding from the perspective of the person being stopped.
The organizers envision this event as the beginning of a series of conversations and gatherings to improve the relationship between the police and the communities they serve. Thanks to the efforts of individuals like Bell, professor Michael Mitchell, and the dedicated team at Martin University, we take a step closer to realizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a just and equitable society for all.
This event is currently not open to the general public, those interested in upcoming programming should reach out to Major Angela Spayd at Angela.email@example.com.