CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police Officer convicted of killing George Floyd, is still resonating.
Consultant Jennifer Davis believes this will impact police officers both professionally and personally. She consults Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) and other police forces across the country.
She helps with community engagement and diversity training. Recently she asked CMPD officers why they still want to remain in law enforcement.
“This is not a good time to be a police officer,” Davis said. “No matter what color you are, especially for white officers - and it’s because they feel a calling - they want to help people.”
Davis believes the impact of the verdict and the negative headlines involving police and the community will have an impact but will not stop officers from doing their jobs and connecting with the community.
“As I talk to the officers,” Davis said. “They don’t look at a step back from the progress they made - what I see and hear them doing is how many more steps forward can we take. What else can we do - what have we not done that will help us connect better with the community.”
The consultant offers tools to officers to help them cope with the current events. She believes these incidents involving police are forcing communication among police departments, neighbors, and politicians.
“Once this kind of stuff becomes public,” Davis said. “It provides an avenue for discussion.”
Davis says while the discussion is always in order, officers must learn how to process the disappointment and outrage people have toward police officers.
“Guard yourself against taking things personally,” she said. “Because the person you are dealing with - doesn’t know you, but you still have to do your job.”
Davis says she doesn’t know one officer who thought what former officer Derek Chauvin did was appropriate and represents the force. She believes officers must continue to put in the work to regain and keep the community’s trust.
“It’s a personal commitment to being patient,” Davis said. “To listening - listening for understanding and not for a response.”
Davis spends time with officers through her training. She wants police officers to learn from negative events involving officers and the community.
Despite the fact it may make serving the community harder - she believes it could strengthen the union between police and neighborhoods.
“When you raise your awareness level,” Davis said. “And you stay informed, you stay educated, you stay engaged with people then what you are doing is you’re building not only relationships but you are building other resources that will help you do your job better and help us keep our community safe.”