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Louisville Could Soon Relaunch Synergy Project, Which Aims To Build Community Trust In Police

090520 UF protesters at the downs
Ryan Van Velzer
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Protesters hold up their hands and shout Breonna Taylor’s name as police look on outside Churchill Downs.

Louisville is getting ready to reboot its Synergy Project.

Planned events for the Synergy Project was paused around the time Breonna Taylor was killed in her home by police, which happened a week after the first reported case of COVID-19 in Kentucky. Officials had to cancel several scheduled sessions because of the pandemic, said Michael Meeks, an equity administrator with Louisville Metro Government.

The program launched in June 2019 with a series of community sessions focused on growing trust between police and residents. It was modeled on a similar program from Charleston, South Carolina, created in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church five years ago.

Now, Louisville is grappling with community pain, trauma and distrust following a police shooting that gained national attention, to the extent that it was a topic in both the presidential and vice presidential debates this year.

"Considering the tenor of the community, I think we need that open space to vent and to try to build relationships," Meeks said. He addressed the Metro Council's relatively new Committee on Equity and Inclusion on Monday.

Past conversations had helped police and community members come together, he said.

The next set of sessions will follow a summer of protests calling for accountability and condemning certain police actions, demonstrations that produced a federal civil rights lawsuit against police for their treatment of protesters.

Louisville police and their representatives have called out government leaders for what they view as a lack of support in the face of heightened criticism from the public.

https://www.facebook.com/RiverCityFOP/posts/3273084769402440

Meeks said the next round of Synergy Project events will start with one session for open conversation, followed by others focused on building skills for having difficult conversations. Details regarding how to participate are not yet available.

 

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.