GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Steps are being made to better the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
Wednesday was the first training for the newly created Citizens Advisory Board for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are learning scenarios of what happens on different police calls, where things happen so fast,” said Advisory Board Member, Stacy Douglas.
The board will act as a liaison between the Sheriff’s Office and community. “Essentially, it’s just relaying information that’s critical, and that goes both ways,” Sgt. Ryan Flood with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sgt. Flood says the board was a campaign promise fulfilled by Sheriff Will Lewis. He says the sheriff’s office saw an issue between communication with law enforcement and the community.
Now, the board will relay concerns the community might have with law enforcement as well as any messages the sheriff’s office wants to get out to the community.
They had an open application. People who applied then went through interviews and a background check and were chosen by the sheriff.
There are 27 people on the board. The sheriff chose a couple people from each district in the county, and they have three alternates.
“I don’t consider myself as someone that would be chosen,” Douglas said. “I was very shocked that I was accepted.”
Douglas says she is happy she was given the opportunity. She believes the sheriff truly tried to get people from all parts of the community.
“I represent a portion of the community that needs to have a voice at the Citizens Advisory Board,” Douglas said.
The board learned different policies and laws but also got the opportunity to experience what officers go through when responding to calls.
“I know I won’t rest easy because now I get to see the whole gamut,” Douglas said.
She says the training will help make her more knowledgeable for the conversations she’ll be having with her community.
“I’ve experienced issues with the police department as well, so I’m not someone who hasn’t,” Douglas said. “It was important for me to be able to explain in its entirety.”
She says the board is important so nobody in the community feels unheard.
“If there’s just a little minority of the population where that is occurring, that needs to be addressed, and that’s where this board comes in handy,” Sgt. Flood said.
The board is not disciplinary.
The next training for the rest of the board members will be October 12th.