Winston-Salem police, WSSU students learning from each other

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Some students on the campus of Winston-Salem State University got a better idea of what kind of role police and campus police play on school grounds.

On Tuesday, the school hosted a forum for police and students meant to start a dialogue between the two groups to help alleviate tension and address mistrust.

“A lot of students told us they didn't want to come tonight because the campus police and city police would be here we had to tell them that's why it's called the trust talks we wanted them to be here so you can be able to trust them,” said Jaylon Herbin, a Winston Salem State University student government leader.

Many students started the forum talking about the ideas and perceptions they had about police before stepping on campus like fearing the police. One student said when he’s home the first rule is to run from police.

Police on the other hand said a vast majority of the people they run into on calls for help are doing the right thing. They asked students to think about why police show up somewhere: usually it’s because someone has called them asking for help or to check out something suspicious.

Police asked students to understand they have a job to do and a way they have to do it. Winston-Salem Police Captain Natoisha James said one thing she hopes students took away from the discussion was the importance of knowing their rights and the proper way to challenge police action they feel is unjust.

James said forums like these can help people who have formed a negative opinion of police based on other people’s horror stories.

“Some not being from around here have had a bad experience with police and they realize that not all police are bad people,” said James.