The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Bonding over burgers

By Martin Paredes/south news editor

Police promote trust with outreach

The South Campus police joined surrounding area police departments by serving the college community in a different manner than they were accustomed to during South’s first Police Department Barbecue April 8.

South Campus Lt. Greg Bowen and patrol officer Keith Foster grill burgers and hot dogs during a barbecue on South Campus April 8. The event was an outreach from three police departments to help promote goodwill between police and the community in light of recent local and national events that have caused the public to distrust law enforcement. Photos courtesy Alex Roper
South Campus Lt. Greg Bowen and patrol officer Keith Foster grill burgers and hot dogs during a barbecue on South Campus April 8. The event was an outreach from three police departments to help promote goodwill between police and the community in light of recent local and national events that have caused the public to distrust law enforcement.
Photos courtesy Alex Roper

South Campus, Fort Worth and Forest Hill officers manned the grills, serving over 300 people burgers, hot dogs, drinks, chips and other snacks during the barbecue.

Speakers from the different police departments educated visitors on some neighborhood and community initiatives they provide and explained how people could get involved or communicate with them.

Precinct 5 justice of the peace Sergio De Leon shared how his experience at TCC helped him get where he is today.

He also urged visitors not to lose their trust of police officers despite what they may see in the news because a few bad events overshadow all the good officers do on a daily basis.

Student activities coordinator Stephanie Davenport said she hoped the event helped heal the negative “stigma” about police that has been heightened in recent years, particularly last August’s shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

“I thought it was important to have a sense of campus community strength where our students are physically seeing our officers work for them as they do every day while also emphasizing that they are here to work with us and not against us,” she said.

Lt. Greg Bowen wanted people to realize that the majority of police officers are not like what they usually see throughout different media.

“There’s been a lot of negative stuff going on, but I just want people to know that [although] there are a few bad officers out there, there are a lot more good ones,” he said.

Bowen said it was good for students to interact with the officers that protect them when they leave school and go home.

“We are just a small police department that has police departments all around us,” he said. “When the students come here, they are our responsibility to protect. But then when they go home, they go to Forest Hill, Everman, Fort Worth. … So it’s good for them to get to know the officers in their respective communities.”

Student activities worker Alex Roper said that even though food was an incentive, most stuck around and had a good time socializing with the police officers.

“Yeah, there were those people that walked by and were like ‘Oh great, this is a barbecue, let me get my hamburger and my hot dog,’ and then they just walk away,” he said. “But then you have the people there that really follow the importance of the community involvement by the police officers and were truly captivated. The energy and the bonds that were formed between the police and the student body were just amazing to see.”

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