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Canton's People and Police Gather

Canton Community & Police Forum
Tim Rudell
Forum on Community & Police Relations

Some 200 people gathered at the Canton Civic Center last night (Thursday night) to discuss community relations with the city’s police. 

Canton is embracing “community policing.”  At the Forum for Community & Police Relations, veteran officers described elements of the strategy -- from training, to deescalating violence.

Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU
Lemar Sharpe of the Canton Police Department says it's about building relationships

Patrolman Lemar Sharpe, said the core of community policing is building genuine relationships in neighborhoods, that those can start at the simplest levels and can work in the most direct ways.

“I stop with children when they’re sitting on the side with nobody to talk to and nobody to play with. That’s a relationship. One of the benefits I’ve seen from community policing and having a community relationship is: I’m able to stop and talk with some of the toughest gangbangers.  They respect me for the simple fact of the relationship I have in my community.”

The gathering was the first in what is projected to be  a series of police relations forums in Canton