Chief's Corner

Sep 13

[ARCHIVED] Mutual understanding key for police and citizens of diverse backgrounds

The original item was published from September 13, 2019 12:15 PM to September 13, 2019 12:26 PM

South Fayette Township is a microcosm of our ever-changing world. Citizens and law enforcement officers both must recognize that today we live in a more global world than a decade ago, especially with the Internet and social media at our fingertips for instant communication. People are interacting with one another more frequently than ever, which means it is of the upmost importance that we understand each other’s culture and way of life.

As your Chief of Police, I am looking into various ways that we as law enforcement officers can meet this challenge head-on by understanding the backgrounds of people who live and work in South Fayette Township. Communication is the key to understanding each other. Not only do we want to help increase police officers’ understanding of citizens, but we also want to assist people from different cultures with understanding local laws and customs.

In the near future, I would like to coordinate a forum for residents of various cultural backgrounds to come together in one setting to discuss any questions or concerns that people may have about our community and how our police department conducts its day-to-day operations. My hope is that this meeting will help our police department better understand our citizens and help ensure a safe community in which we all can live and prosper.

John R. Phoennik


C& J The
September 14, 2019 at 1:04 PM
Thanks for the post and for taking these steps soon. Communication is indeed key, even as it arises from a posture of listening deeply—without assuming any of us knows more than we actually do and without presuming the ability to speak for someone else (particularly when it concerns articulation of their own experiences). Hopefully, all of these efforts will include not only those within the community but also "third-party" voice(s) of expertise, to help with anti-bias training, civic engagement preparation, and "360-degree" sight lines for how we do this work together. -CT