NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — The New Bern Police Department hosted a roundtable discussion Thursday night to talk with people in the Duffyfield neighborhood.
New Bern Police Chief Patrick Gallagher said he wants to see an open dialogue between officers and community members. That effort started on Thursday, as people gathered at the Omega Center for a community conversation.
“This was an important first step, and I think we actually achieved it tonight as far as being able to say hey, we’re here to help you do your job and we’re here to continue to be a true partner in the community as far as crime and safety is concerned,” said Jamara Wallace, chairman of the Duffyfield Residence Council.
Gallagher invited Duffyfield residents to the Omega Center to discuss topics like racial justice, use of force and police transparency.
“To have the chief stand in front of the community and talk about these issues, and some of them can become uncomfortable and you normalize them by having the conversation and don’t ignore them,” said Gallagher.
Community members had the opportunity to ask officers questions. Body cameras were a big topic of interest. Gallagher said his department will be getting those cameras in the coming months. He expects they’ll be rolled out around August 1.
“The officer says no, that’s not what happened, or the citizen describes events slightly different,” said Gallagher. “This is an opportunity for officers to be able to say, resolutely, that if you don’t believe me, or the citizen if you don’t believe me, let’s watch the video.”
Gallagher said this was a successful conversation. He hopes to continue having gatherings like this one in neighborhoods all throughout New Bern.