MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The Memphis Police Department is taking a boots-on-the-ground approach to improve community relations.
The Barbers Zone on Mt. Moriah served the community more than just cuts Thursday night.
Officers from the Memphis Police Department including some high-ranking members came to the shop looking to bridge the gap with people in the neighborhood.
Curtis Horton, one of the barbers at the shop, said the conversation gave the youth the chance to talk about what some consider problematic policing protocols in the Black community.
“A lot of the younger patrons that was in here feel like they don’t get the same respect they deserve from officers when they encounter them,” Horton said. “It’s a lot of trauma these kids are holding in and that they need counseling, or they need some type of intervention to share that trauma.”
With respect at the forefront of the sit-down, Horton said at times there were tense moments.
“It was some accountability, but it was a lot of denying. They weren’t owning it,” he said. “We had a couple guys get frustrated because they didn’t get the answers or solutions they were looking for.”
As the city looks for answers to stop crime, Horton said MPD digging deeper to reach people where they’re at is a step in the right direction.
“It made me feel like they really cared, that they are really trying to find a solution in what’s going on,” Horton said.
The department organizes community policing events once a month.