Beacon Community Groups, Police Meet May 31

Meeting begins effort to improve police-community relations

On Sunday, May 31, at 12:30 p.m., a wide range of community groups will kick off a process to improve police-community relations in the city of Beacon.

Better Together (the Beacon Interfaith clergy group) and I Am Beacon (a community group) are organizing community organizations under the umbrella of Beacon Speaks Out to improve those relations.

Beacon Speaks Out is an independent, locally driven community effort that is supported by Beacon Mayor Randy Casale and Police Chief Douglas Solomon, but is not organized by either official, nor is it answerable to them. It is co-chaired by Rabbi Brent Spodek of Beacon Hebrew Alliance and moderator of Better Together, and Brooke Simmons of I Am Beacon.

This first-of-its-kind effort in Beacon will have four steps:

Listening: On May 31, there will be a focused, guided opportunity for Beacon residents to share their experiences, hopes, fears, ideas and uncertainties about policing in Beacon. Following the event, there will be online surveys available in English and Spanish. There are also conversations with current and retired BPD officers to talk to them about their experiences, hopes, fears, ideas and uncertainties about policing in Beacon.

Summarizing: A committee will distill the notes and thoughts recorded into a list of broad ambitions that residents have for policing in Beacon. Those ambitions will be shared with the public at a July City Council meeting.

Taking Action: A group of Beacon residents — average community members as well as individuals with legal and law enforcement experience, and BPD personnel — will turn those ambitions into a set of specific action items to which Beacon Speaks Out will ask the city government to commit.

Committing: At a public meeting in the fall, Beacon Speaks Out will ask the council and the police chief to commit to pursuing this concrete platform for shaping police-community relations in Beacon.

The May 31 meeting will take place at Memorial Building/Bingo Hall, 413 Main St. in Beacon.

For more information, visit the Community Speak Out! Facebook page, or contact Spodek at [email protected] or 845-831-2012, ext. 1, or Simmons at [email protected] or 914-325-9203.

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