LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the conversation around police reform continues across the country, former Lexington Police Chief Anthany Beatty says it will be critical for officers to prioritize building community relationships moving forward.
Following the conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Beatty said the verdict may help to heal strained relationships between officers and community members, but it is only a start.
"Given the long, long history of police-community relations, particularly with the minority community, this just seems like a start or
a rebirth of a movement to take a close look at police agencies and how they interact with communities," he said.
Beatty served in law enforcement for 35 years and was Chief of Police in Lexington from 2001-2008.
Officers have seen the unrest across the country following police killings of black people, and he believes they want to build trust in communities.
"The vast, vast majority of the folks who are in law enforcement are honorable, credible people and they expect accountability and they expect to be held accountable for their actions," he said.
But changing the dynamic will require ongoing conversations between officers and the people they serve, he said.
"The new modern-day police officer will have to come to work every day thinking about, 'How do we interact with the community? What do we do to make it better?'" he said.