LIMA — The time has come for elected officials to get out and meet their constituents.
That is the message Lima City Council member Derry Glenn received at after a meeting of the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations held Feb. 9 at Central State University.
“The meeting was really great,” he said. “There was a lot of dialogue on different things that the city needs to grow.”
One idea voiced at the meeting involved having a greater variety of local elected officials, not just law enforcement, maintain a more visible presence in their communities, especially among minorities.
“The prosecutor, the law director, our chief, our mayor, all of us have to work together to change this around,” Glenn said. “Go into the low-income areas and get to know the people. Volunteer at the Cheryl Allen Center for a while and talk to people.”
To aid in that visibility, Glenn suggested that elected officials meet with minority representatives on a quarterly basis, not just to go over policies, but to form relationships.
“We can’t tell the prosecutor what to do,” he said. “We can’t tell the law director what to do. But if we want to work on relationships, we need to start meeting.”
Glenn applauded Gov. John Kasich for calling for this task force, hopeful that by addressing issues of minority relations now, Lima and the rest of Ohio can avoid situations like the recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York.
“This is the first time I’ve seen this dialogue,” he said. “It’s going to be tough, but I think we can do it.”
The task force will next meet on Thursday at the University of Toledo as well as on March 9 at the University of Cincinnati. For more information, go to www.ocjs.ohio.gov/otfcpr/.