Savannah Cares Task Force holds first outreach meeting, zero turnout from community

Savannah Cares Task Force holds first outreach meeting, zero turnout from community

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah Cares Task Force held its first outreach meeting to allow the community to share their positive or negative interactions with Savannah Police. However, the turnout didn’t go as expected.

Only one person scheduled an appointment meet with task force members at the Liberty Center. However, that person did not show up. The Co-Chair says they’re hopeful for a better turnout at future meetings and says they need the community’s feedback if people want to see a change.

“It’s a little disappointing so far. The turnout’s been low tonight - no one,” said David McDonald, Co-Chair, Savannah Cares Task Force.

Savannah Cares Task Force members say several circumstances could’ve led to the less than expected turnout.

Since the task force was established last summer, 10 of the 12 recommendations varying from eliminating warning shots to de-escalation training have been implemented by SPD.

Now, they want to hear the community’s account of their interactions with Savannah Police.

“People have complained. They have given shared opinions told us about things they’ve seen that they didn’t think was right. So we want them to come and actually share that with us to tell us what they’ve seen, what they have observed so we can look at those encounters and make recommendations to the police department based on the information we gather,” said Diane McLeod, Chair, Savannah Cares Task Force.

They also want to hear about positive experiences with police.

Members realize some may be hesitant about coming forward , but they’re hoping people will attend the next scheduled meetings. They want residents’ voices to be heard, but that won’t happen without people participating in the sessions.

“This is your chance to change the police departments culture. If you’re unhappy with how policing is in our community, now is your chance to say something and get recommendations from the committee directly to the mayor and the manager,” said McDonald.

The next outreach meeting will be held at the W.W. Law Community Center Tuesday, January 19 at noon.

Public feedback meetings for the Savannah Cares Task Force are by appointment only. Identities will not be released to the public.

Those interested must make an appointment by emailing savannahcares@savannahga.gov or calling (912) 650-7878.

Virtual appointments are also available.

Appointments are available:

  • Jan. 19 beginning at noon at the W.W. Law Community Center, 900 E. Bolton St.
  • Jan. 26 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Southwest Chatham Library, 14097 Abercorn St.
  • Feb. 2 beginning at noon at the Carver Village Community Center, 905 Collat Ave.
  • Feb. 6 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave.

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