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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.–The Winston-Salem Police Department and the city’s Human Relations Commission are teaming up to host a series of community meetings aimed at building mutual respect and trust between the police department and the community.

The four meetings being held are called ‘Trust Talks.’

People from different sectors of the city including former offenders, preachers, senior citizens, college students, and property owners are being invited to one of four talks.

Police officers and residents will meet, sit down with police one on one and share concerns.

Assistant Police Chief David Clayton says it’s a great way to prevent crime because building trust and stronger community relationships helps them solve crime.  

“You can not police, you can not solve crime and not police positively without a good relationship in the community,” says Clayton.

Carmina Eder attended one of the trust talks and says many of the complaints from residents are the same.

“One of things I heard was communication there is a lack of communication, people feel like there is no dialogue that no one talks to anybody,” says Eder.

Police say open dialogue will help them better understand the people they serve and hopefully help the community better understand the officers, their duties and goals.

After each meeting, the officers plan to take what they learned back to the department so they can find ways to help solve people’s complaints and build mutual respect.

Eder says so far so good.

“Just having that open dialogue and taking down those barriers to say hey listen I am human too you have an entirely different perspective on what you see of police.”