Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes taught a course on Effective Community Engagement to Bedford Police and community stakeholders on Monday. (Courtesy Photo)
BEDFORD – Chief Robert Bongiorno is pleased to announce that the Bedford Police Department on Monday hosted a class on the concept of “Effective Community Engagement.” In an interesting twist, for the second time this year Bedford Police invited community stakeholders and police officers to sit in the same room during a training program that is usually held for police only.
The curriculum was developed by Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, who led the discussion during a morning event at the Middlesex Community College Bedford campus on Nov. 7. More than 60 people attended the training, including several Bedford police officers as well as elected town officials, town department heads, nonprofit leaders, clergy and school officials.
The program focused on the importance for police departments to foster a culture of policing that reinforces the value of ongoing community engagement in balancing public safety demands and building bridges within communities to encourage trust and confidence in law enforcement.
This is the second police training involving civilians that Bedford has hosted this year. In January, the department hosted a progressive police training course at MCC in conjunction with the Cambridge Police Department.
“This is one of the most challenging policing environments in the history of our country. Building trusting relationships with community members is more important than ever,” Chief Bongiorno said. “Programs like these are important for police departments like ours to learn about how to be transparent and better engage with their community members. Monday offered a unique forum for residents to learn about the law enforcement point of view and share their own perspectives as well.”
During his presentation, Chief Kyes stressed the importance of maintaining ongoing communication and engagement with the community in order to build trust while maintaining transparency, citing examples such as posting department policies and procedures online, posting crime data and developing better relationships with residents.
He also suggested that departments should find non-traditional ways of interacting with their community like in Boston, where the police department bought an ice cream truck to hand out free ice cream to children.
“It is vital to the future relationships that we, as law enforcement officers, have with our community, that we continue to focus on an inclusive policy of policing,” Chief Kyes said. “By using this approach and practicing transparency, we can build that trust.”
In addition to the training curriculum, remarks were also given by:
• Massachusetts State Representative Kenneth Gordon
• Bedford Board of Selectman member Margot Fleischman
• Dr. James Mabry, President of Middlesex Community College
• Rev. Christopher Wendell of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
• Rabbi Susan Abramson of Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington
Left to right: Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno, Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, Jail Diversion Clinician Alia Laura Toran-Burrell, Bedford Selectman William Moonan, Bedford Assistant Town Manager Michael Rosen, Bedford Selectman Margot Fleischman and Bedford Town Manager Richard Reed. (Courtesy Photo)
In the spirit of community engagement, Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno passed out breakfast pastries to students at Middlesex Community College during a break from the Effective Community Engagement training. (Courtesy Photo)
Bedford Police hosted an Effective Community Engagement training session for police and community stakeholders at the Middlesex Community College Bedford campus this week. (Courtesy Photo)