Academy Recruits Gain New Insight on Community Engagement

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To view a video clip of this community engagement training, click here.

Academy recruits from the 64th session will graduate on Friday, August 7, and begin working patrol with a Field Training Instructor. As they finish their remaining classes, they had a unique opportunity on Thursday, July 30. Instead of sitting through a classroom lecture on community relations, they were taken on a tour of several neighborhoods within the Mount Vernon Police District.

During the tour, Mattie Palmore, a community leader and retired Magistrate for Fairfax County, led the group with a tailored discussion of community engagement topics. Palmore has served her community in a variety of different roles for more than 30 years. She has been a tireless advocate for housing the homeless, physically and mentally challenged, as well as youth and senior citizens. She used her experience as a victim of abuse to form The Women’s Group of Mount Vernon and has since assisted countless women and children.

With Ms. Palmore’s guidance, the recruits traveled by bus and visited numerous neighborhoods and community centers throughout the Mount Vernon area. They had an opportunity to speak with other community leaders and residents and gained insight on their perspectives.

Areas of discussion included the importance of identifying different communities and responding to their individual needs, learning how various communities view law enforcement, gaining an understanding of successful engagement efforts by current and former officers, as well as Mattie Palmore’s perspective as a Magistrate and community member. The recruits learned the importance of looking beyond the police report and focusing on the needs of the family.

The department, academy staff and recruits thank Ms. Palmore for her dedication and time given to this vital effort. The opportunity will aid these recruits as they prepare to graduate and enter the community as police officers who will work diligently to serve and protect. In the coming weeks, academy staff will discuss this unique opportunity and their ability to include it in future academy sessions.