THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Community leaders and Thomasville Police officers are joining together, talking about issues law enforcement face in the community.
Thursday, they held a community and police unity meeting.
Thomasville Police Officers are using training to change the way they handle critical situations after 2016 brought many challenges for members of law enforcement all across the country.
"The use of force continuum has gone out the door because anything changes rapidly. You have an array of tools," said Chief Troy Rich.
In 2016, Thomasville Police incorporated Soft Hands as part of the Use of Force Policy. That means anything but handcuffing someone now has to be reported.
So far this year the number of use of force situations is on track to be similar to 2016.
"It's in the thousands, the number of contacts we have with people everyday and 61 of them resulted in use of force," said Rich.
Lucinda Brown is the Thomasville NAACP President. She has participated in the 4 week Citizens' Academy and was at the unity council meeting.
"I thought it was really good, Im glad he brought this back so we don't forgot the things we were taught during the training," said Brown.
Brown believes the department has made big strides towards transparency and would like to see more departments do the same.
"We have had a lot of police problems but if other communities would follow the things he is doing," said Brown.
Something the department implemented in 2016, was taking less people to jail for misdemeanor crimes through the release on summons program.
It allows officers to release a first time offender instead of taking them to jail.
"Trying to help our young people that if they make a mistake, that it will not follow them for the rest of their lives," said Brown.
Thomasville Officers said some of the biggest problems they face are juvenile crimes, gangs, and burglaries.
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