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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Police and clergy will gather for Gadsden County's fifth summit



Law enforcement experts and religious leaders from across the country will gather this week in Gadsden County, just west of Tallahassee, for the fifth Rural County Summit, a three-day event to foster mutual understanding and trust between police and the community.

Guest speakers will represent communities that in recent years have dealt with extreme tensions between the police and public: Baltimore; Boston; Ferguson, Mo.; Los Angeles; Charleston, S.C.; and Sanford, Fla., the scene of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Retired Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden also is slated to appear.

"They were front and center while the whole nation watched their respective communities work through the aftermath of a racially motivated incident involving law enforcement," said Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, who organized the rural summit. "We can and will learn from each other -- what worked, what failed and how to avoid these problems, but if for some reason we can't, how to work together to keep it together."

Maj. Shawn Wood of the Gadsden sheriff's office is also a key organizer of the collaborative efforts. Gadsden is Florida's only county with a majority black population. Young was first elected sheriff in 2004, and his efforts were noted in this article, entitled "Gadsden Finds God" with moving photography by Fred R. Conrad of the New York Times, which ran in February.

More information on the event can be found here.

[Last modified: Monday, April 4, 2016 11:02am]


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