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MPA president, Memphis activist weigh in on whether police should apologize

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Not everyone who wears a badge grew up thinking highly of the police.

"Believe it or not, I became the police because I didn't like the police," said Mike Williams, president of the Memphis Police Association.

Williams said he thinks it's important to realize why some people dislike the men and women in the blue.

"First impressions are everything, so the first time you deal with these individuals, you have the ability to give them the impression that police are good or they're bad," said Williams.

The president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police said it's time to apologize for those who've left the bad impressions, saying law enforcement needs to acknowledge how their profession's played a role in society's historical mistreatment of communities of color.

"I was completely shocked that he made the statement that he made," said Memphis Activist Devante Hill. "I think it's a step in the right direction."

Activists said there are reasons for police to apologize in Memphis, but the Police Association said the current force shouldn't be blamed for the past, and would rather look to the future.

"I don't think it's necessary that you openly apologize because I think actions speaks louder than words," said Williams.

He also said it's important to keep taking steps forward, such as having more transparency in the police department so the public can feel confident they trust them.

Williams said he wants to make a bigger stride towards community policing and making sure officers understand why there can be an inherited mistrust in them.

They're all goals activists agree with, but would still like an apology on a local level.

"In order for us to rebuild those relationships and rebuild those trusts, we first got to address the past and not act like it never happened," said Hill.