Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams met with members of the public Tuesday morning at B2 Cafe on E. Battlefield.
In addition to the chief, several members of the Springfield police department also met with members of the public to discuss a wide range of issues.
Chief Williams engaged in civil conversations on a variety of issues related to police procedures including questions related to the recent CNN article about the department’s handling of sexual assault cases & the changes the department made in 2014 and onward to address those cases.
One community member addressed the chief regarding diversity issues and stated they would like to see the police department, sheriff’s department and other area law enforcement agencies be proactive in showing diversity to the community.
Another group of citizens spoke to the chief about issues involving minority groups in Springfield and possible reluctance to report crimes to the department.
The chief also dealt with questions related to guns, their handling and procedures regarding guns seized in investigations. Multiple times citizens reiterated the importance of communication between the department and groups within the community.
SPD staff also addressed issues related to community nuisance issues and helped citizens who are applying for open positions with the department.
Chief Williams told OI that he had positive conversations.
“I’ve been doing [coffee meetings] for 8 years now,” the Chief told OI. “I love doing them. It’s a way to connect with the community and talk about important matters over a cup of coffee. This was a robust discussion on a lot of issues from gun violence, domestic violence, mental health issues to how we deal with LGBTQ community. A couple showed up to thank me for my service and didn’t have questions. Another lady said she’d wanted to come for two years and finally did today.”
The chief said these sessions always make him think about how the department approaches their service to the community.
“I always get suggestions on things that I’m going to follow up on,” he said.