WAVY’s Anita Blanton moderates virtual forum featuring local chiefs and sheriffs

Virginia

WINDSOR, Va. (WAVY) — Bridging the gap between the community and law enforcement: that was the subject of a virtual conversation put on Thursday by the Smithfield Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

WAVY News 10 Anchor Anita Blanton had the opportunity to moderate the forum.

And several of the region’s local chiefs of police and sheriffs from Windsor, Surry County and Isle of Wight County took questions from the public they serve.

They answered questions ranging from qualified immunity, recruiting qualified candidates, transparency, training and trust — they were dedicated to addressing it all.

“One incident begins to erode the public trust, and if you tarnish your badge, you tarnish my badge,” said Chief Alonzo Howell with Smithfield police.

“I think if we set aside some of our differences and focus more on what we have in common, [people] can make the community what they want,” said Chief Rodney Riddle of Windsor police.

Riddle, of course, was recently pushed into the national spotlight for the fallout after a traffic stop in Windsor. Two Windsor officers pulled their weapons and used force during a traffic stop involving a U.S. Army officer. One officer has since been fired, and the traffic stop is now at the center of a federal lawsuit.

Tension has certainly been high across America with several high-profile encounters and protests dominating the news.

Thursday night was about figuring out a way forward as one.

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