Dothan holds event for city officials to bridge the gap with community

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — To strengthen trust in the community, the city of Dothan held a Diversity and Sensitivity training.

“You know it’s very important that the community knows that the organization whether it be the police department as its lil own department or the city as an entire organization understands that the city of Dothan is doing everything they can to bridge a gap in the community,” said Police Chief Steve Parrish.

To bridge that gap, Parrish and other city departments came together Thursday.

Chief Parrish says it should a part of every organization in the future.

The course is a partnership with Troy University’s continuing education division, consisting of exercises and real-life scenarios.

According to trainer, Michael Jackson, it is more about having the conversation to understand the why.

“We talk about police brutality we talk about Black Lives Matter just because they’re there but we end our day or we focus the material on diversity, you know the many forms of diversity,” Jackson said.

The discussion is beyond the obvious issues, such as race and gender. It’s also about gender differences, ageism, sexism, systemic versus institutionalized racism, the list goes on.

“Your values, your beliefs, your past experiences shape your thoughts and opinions, so if they’re aware of those it just prepares them for anything they might encounter in their jobs,” said Market Development Manager Laura Chambliss.

City officials wanted citizens to understand, the training is not a knee jerk reaction to the chaos stirring around the world. It’s to allow city employees to become more aware.

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