Recent unrest has a local college basketball team reaching out to WPD

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita police officer joined Newman University’s men’s basketball team Friday during their weekly dialogue sessions.

The team had an open discussion on the recent unrest transpiring around the country.

“Just to have a dialogue from somebody that has experience,” said juvenile prevention unit officer Donielle Watson.

“I think the dialogue was really useful because a lot of cops have a bad stigma towards them and a lot of black kids don’t look up to them as role models,” said Joel Boyce, Newman basketball player.

Officer Watson says he personally received an invitation from the team’s coach, RJ Allen, to join them in this week’s conversation. Watson shared his perspective on being a black man in the police force. He also addressed some of the stigmas placed on police officers during this time.

“As you can see most of the basketball players are African American,” said Watson. “Having an African-American officer and their perspective can maybe change some of these men’s minds and ideas about what is going on nationally.”

Watson says he wants to create a bridge between police and the community.

“It is going to take everybody to make things better. It’s not just police reform, it’s community reform, also,” said Watson. “If we can come together in the middle, bridge that gap, then we are going to have a more successful interaction with officers.”

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