Bridging the gap between citizens and police

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Tense relations between police officers and the communities they serve have made national headlines, and right here at home.

This past summer protesters filled the streets in downtown Syracuse voicing their concerns.

So, in an effort to ease relations, the Syracuse police department put on a three day civilian police academy.

The program just scratched the surface of deep under lying issues of distrust and miscommunication.

Day one was all about taking off the uniform, and getting to know the person behind the badge. It was a way to start to see where each side was coming from and where vital discussion began to break the ice.

The two groups, the police officers and civilians began talking race, fears and excessive force, all small steps in trying to bridge a gap.

It's a start that Shauna Spivey, once anti-police, can now appreciate.

"So now being able to see in a different light. We all need to try to help our community. If I want to live here, I got to make it safe," Spivey said.

An understanding that not only police, but all of us are responsible for making Syracuse a better place.

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