ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - It's no secret that it's a tense time in this country in terms of law enforcement interaction with the public.
An Athens State University professor is one of many across the country answering a call for help from the Department of Justice. The DoJ is asking the country's educators to use their teachings and research to better understand and explain the relationship between law enforcement and minorities.
"In the classroom, we talk about race, we talk about racism, we talk about discrimination, we talk about disparities in statistics," explained Dr. Quanda Stevenson, who teaches a number of courses including criminal justice.
She says a number of officers make up her student base, and she wants to take the education straight to law enforcement by reaching out to speak to them directly.
"It seems that law enforcement needs additional training on how to associate, on how to interact with minorities," said Stevenson.
She says the better training and psychological screening can help return police to what she calls a 'community model,' to avoid using force unnecessarily or prematurely.
She says agencies need to set a trend within their police subculture standing against excessive force or discrimination. She says a number of agencies are still a bit nervous to talk about race relations, but she says without the dialogue and the education, it can potentially get worse.
"It means that as a society we have not learned from the past, it means we're not educating ourselves, we're not growing."