Police committee to host open forum discussing policies, community concerns

Pullman PD will discuss changes regarding use of force; Community can ask police about training, policies

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BONNIE JAMES | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins hopes the Black Lives Summit will help determine what the department needs to work on.

LOREN NEGRON, Evergreen reporter

The Pullman Police Advisory Committee is organizing a Black Lives Summit in November allowing the community to voice its concerns to the Pullman Police Department.

Pullman PD will communicate what its policies are during the summit. This includes sharing changes the department is trying to make in consideration of the Black Lives Matter movement, said Pullman PD Chief Gary Jenkins.

He said he hopes the conversations during the event will lead to an action plan detailing what issues the department should tackle.

“I hope the community hears us as well and sees that we want to provide the best law enforcement service that we can,” Jenkins said.

He said Pullman PD will discuss the complete revision of its policy manual during the summit, including changes in the manual’s use of force section.

The event will provide an atmosphere of understanding between Pullman PD and the community, said Stephanie Rink, Police Advisory Committee chair.

“We thought [the summit] would be a great way for us … to really talk about: ‘Hey, take a look at what our Pullman police are doing and tell us what we need to do more of,’” she said.

A subcommittee is organizing the event. Subcommittee members will meet Sept. 3 and discuss whether or not to change the title of the event, she said. Members will also determine the date of the summit and start marketing the event on social media.

Selecting the best panelists is a top priority, she said, so that the conversations during the summit are productive.

“We don’t know all we need,” Rink said. “We need and want to learn more so we can do better.”

Because of the rise of COVID-19 cases in Whitman County, Rink is anticipating the event will be conducted over Zoom.

Samantha Fulgham, co-organizer of Palouse in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter, said there are many concerns about the types of training the police department receives. 

She said the summit is an opportunity to find ways to improve training and slowly dismantle the systemic racism built into police systems.

“The protests were just the first pieces of this puzzle,” Fulgham said. “The next step is really starting to do the work in our own communities, and I think this is a great first step toward that.”