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Crime rates and police interactions highlight inaugural TPD Citizens Advisory Council town hall

TPD's Citizens Advisory Council held its first-ever public town hall, hearing concerns from citizens regarding rising crime rates and interactions with police.
Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Tallahassee Police Department’s Citizens Advisory Council hosted its inaugural town hall Monday night, launching a new chapter in the agency’s efforts to build connections with its community.

The two hour meeting was passionate at times, as the council heard from people concerned about how police and crime have impacted their lives.

The meeting began with council member introductions. Not all of the two-dozen or so members of the committee were in attendance at Walker-Ford Community Center, but those there explained how they bring a unique perspective to the council.

Frenchtown resident Bernice McMillan joined the council in part to help shape her own backyard.

“For me, it’s personal,” she said. “It was important for myself and my husband to help clean it up.”

Nancy O’Farrell serves as the Executive Director of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She said she has enjoyed her time on the committee, meeting monthly for about a year.

“Anything new takes awhile,” she said. “We’ve been very purposeful about being organized, getting to know each other- learning how to operate as a team.”

The meeting mostly focused on public comment ranging from tackling homelessness concerns to interactions with police. But much of the time was spent on addressing the city’s crime rate.

One man addressed the panel, saying he was “fed up” with crime on his street.

“I’m tired of my neighborhood not being safe,” he said.

Despite the concerns raised during the meeting, council members say they have full confidence the committee will create tangible change.

“Finally those voices that were never heard in the past are being heard now,” McMillan said.

Monday’s meeting was just the first of several town halls planned throughout the city in the coming months.

The citizen’s advisory council is selected by TPD and is separate from the city’s Police Review Board, which has members appointed by elected officials.

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