Leadership Kentucky and local authorities address social issues

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 4:20 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Community leaders are speaking on social justice. Leadership Kentucky held a panel with local authorities at the National Corvette Museum to address current political topics.

The panel consisted of Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower, Bowling Green Police Department Chief Michael Delaney, Western Kentucky University Police Department Chief Mitch Walker, and Warren County Jailer Stephen Harmon. The main topics the discussion panel touched on were incarceration and civil unrest.

Leadership Kentucky panel meets at the Corvette Museum.
Leadership Kentucky panel meets at the Corvette Museum.(None)

“We’re very aware of the population and diversity that we serve, and we try to be really intentional about making sure that we provide the best service for everyone," says BG PD Chief Michael Delaney.

With the tension across the nation following George Floyd and Breonna Taylors' deaths, the officers spoke on changing their image.

“It’s saddening that people have a fear of the police. I would like to be able to work in a way and have conversations in a way that I can change that mindset," WKU PD Chief Mitch Walker expresses.

But according to Sheriff Hightower, the issues the public wants authorities to address are complex.

“People believe that we have a right to fire people or get rid of people within our job, and we don’t. We have to follow by the officers' bill of rights, which helps protect the officers and the deputies that we have within our leadership," Hightower explains.

The sheriff says it reflects poorly on police when a bad officer stays in power.

And that policing issues are a symptom of greater problems in the community. On incarceration, jailer Stephen Harmon says they do not see a large disparity among races. He says incarceration rates mirror Bowling Green’s demographic for the most part.

“It’s not a destination. It’s a journey, something that we have to keep working toward every day and realizing that we have work to do. The community can help us in that and moving forward, we can be a great community if we bridge those gaps," says Chief Delaney.

You can visit Leadership Kentucky’s website for more information.

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