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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Councilman Troy Nash Part II: Minorities and police

By Greg Reeves
Our earlier post about Kansas City Council member Troy Nash was based on his statement last week that he wouldn't be interested in an "academic" discussion by the council's newly declared 29-member Commission on Violent Crime. He wants action on the crime issue.

Here's more of our talk with Nash about the subject:

Q. What is the perception of your constituents of the Kansas City police?
A. I have my own opinions about it, certainly, being an African-American male, number one, and living and breathing and experiencing in the community virtually my entire life, there’s been no exception to that rule, with the exception of the military, I was taken abroad.
But that’s home for me there, and I think it would be fair to say that there’s always sort of a natural tension in the system between the minority community and the police. And a lot of that follows along the historical continuum, given our history in this country.
But today I think things have improved. I think things have improved with the advent of community policing and those type programs. Police in a positive way has become part of our lives. We see them at our neighborhood meetings. We talk to ‘em on the corners when they ride their bikes. We now have their cell-phone numbers. All these things are sort of relatively new in the minority-police relationships.
However – and you know it was coming – I think that the police department or any other structural entity is not unlike the broader society. There’s still narrow, vested interests in the police department. You also have elements of racism manifesting itself in the department. I mean, I hate to see it, but that’s the reality. No different than local government, for that matter.

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