Instead of waiting for racial tensions to boil over, as they have in many areas of the country, leaders in Boise are taking a proactive approach to avoid violent protests in the wake of police shootings. Ada County and community leaders sat down face-to-face at the request of the Idaho Black History Museum.
Museum leaders say they want to get rid of the "us versus them" mentality when it comes to police and the public by bringing them together. On Thursday night, the Boise police chief, Ada County Sheriff and local members from "Black lives matter" and the NAACP got together under one roof for an open dialog, and to take questions from the public. Ada County Sheriff Stephen Bartlett says when law enforcement does not listen to the public, it can lead to a lack of trust.
"It's very important for me as the Ada County Sheriff to build those relationships, sit down with no matter what community it is and listen to their perspectives," Said Ada County Sheriff Stephen Bartlett. "Listen to their questions and really build that trust with law enforcement and the community."
Organizers with the museum say they hope this is just the first of many interactions to help improve community and police relations.