Chief Lumpkin, students attend community meeting discussing crim - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Chief Lumpkin, students attend community meeting discussing crime

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The Cann/Jackson Park Neighborhood Association invited the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department Police Chief to their regular meeting to discuss the issue of crime.

Chief Jack Lumpkin wasn’t the only special guest, as several students were there as well. That’s not something you typically see at neighborhood association meetings, but the teenagers there Thursday want to be a part of the conversation to make their community safer.

"My main concern was I want the police to interact with the community more, so they don't have so much bad blood coming from the kids in the community and have a more positive outlook,” said Beach High senior Dar’nalazia McKinny.

McKinny, 18, was one of a few students who talked with the police chief about how to make their neighborhood safer.

"I thought their questions were great, they were vibrant. Young ladies standing up asking questions, and asking questions we all have about our safety, what we can do to improve, how we can build those relationships,” said Chief Lumpkin.

And if you're thinking McKinny sounds mature for her age, you're not the first. She says she gets that a lot.

"Like, the things that normal 18 year olds are into is not really something that I'm into. This is more important to me, because I live here. I want to be safe walking to and from school. This is the community that I stay in, so it's a concern for me,” said McKinny.

Thursday’s goal was to encourage dialogue between students and police, because many believe curbing Savannah's crime problem starts with reaching its young people.

"They can be the ones, the voice, of the crime because they know what's going on and they congregate with other children and students and they hear a lot,” said Neighborhood Association President Carmelita Maynard.

Neighbors and police also discussed how the community can keep an eye out for children who walk to school and play in neighborhood parks.

Among the officers in attendance, six of the department's newest recruits.

Chief Lumpkin says that kind of community involvement is something you can expect to see from all the new hires.

"We want for them to get to know the citizens and to actually start their career walking, start their career talking with citizens. To where we will break this barrier down between citizens and police," said Chief Lumpkin.

Speaking of new recruits, the chief told WTOC the hiring process is going well so far.

Thirty-five new officers have recently hit the streets. Another 10 are going through training at Savannah Tech.

Chief Lumpkin also said they expect to hire 40 more officers by mid-December.

Those recruits would start school in January and hit the streets early next year.

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