Police department launches initiative on how to interact with officers

Washington Street Missionary Baptist Church pastor Rev. Raynarldo Henderson is on a mission to educate his younger members about how to stay out of the limelight with police.

“We want to do everything that we can to make sure that what has happened in some of the other areas does not happen here. We’re trying to teach our children, our youth, who are driving what to do when they’re stopped and, of course, what they need to do to keep from being stopped,” Henderson said.

That talk is fueled not only by recent police shootings, but by a re-launch of a public safety initiative by the Paducah Police Department. Two-sided cards provide guidelines for interacting with police, including some pointers for if you’re stopped. Community Resource Officer Gretchen Morgan is spear-heading the effort.  “They might see something on here and say ‘Why do you do that?’ It gives us an opportunity to explain, ‘Well, this is why we do that,'” she said.

Morgan said it is a way to educate school-aged children who may have a negative perception of police from watching television. She said knowing how to avoid confrontation will lead to a peaceful conversation when stopped. “Your tone goes a long ways,” she said. “That goes for the officer and the person that’s gotten pulled over.”

Henderson said there has to be a sense of community within our own community to keep from making wrong decisions.

“There has to be education in the part of the citizen as well as on the part of the law enforcement,” Henderson said.

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