ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary said the riots of May 30 in the city changed everything, and the need for dialogue is greater now than ever. Singletary co-hosted a town hall at the Public Safety Building Wednesday night to bring the people and police together.
“So, the whole purpose of this is to try to strengthen police-community relations. And ‘Moe’ has a significant following in the community,” says Singletary about his high school friend and former football player Maurice “Moe” Jackson.
Singletary says he picked Jackson, now a community leader, to help host this town hall because he can bring others into the fold, and he did. The room Wednesday night full of voices from clergy, to ex-cops, to common citizens.
“Rochester has the chance to be the difference in the nation,” says Jackson.
Jackson says tonight is about sharing stories from the people and police, and making action items to take back out to the streets. “The better they can police the community, the better we can be as citizens,” adding, “It’s not even a Black Lives Matter thing, it’s just a thing that will help the community come together.”
Also in attendance, the police chiefs for Gates, Brighton and other regional departments. “We’re trying to keep the conversations going and get more people involved,” says Chief James Vanbrederode, Gates Police.
And getting as many people involved is something Singletary wants to do going forward. Jackson and Singletary already agree on one thing: Preventing the Rochester riots from ever happening again. They say those steps start right here.
“We hope that there’s some change. We always talk about dialogue. It’s hard to hate up-close. When we have these opportunities and these conversations, it will hopefully build into some sort of action,” says Singletary.
The Chief did say this was not the only town hall he’s going to co-host. Expect more in the future.