WXXI AM News

Former Rochester Police Chief On Building A Culture Of Trust

Apr 26, 2016

Cedric Alexander

The Center for Dispute Settlement held its award luncheon Tuesday, honoring several individuals for their peaceful conflict resolution methods.

The organization also welcomed Cedric Alexander as the keynote speaker.

Alexander, the public safety director in Dekalb County Georgia, served as acting Rochester Police Chief in 2005.

He addressed the theme of the luncheon, "Building a Culture of Trust," saying while Rochester is no different than any other city around the nation, that trust can be strengthened if both sides work toward that goal.

"People are questioning the legitimacy of their local police. People are more likely to follow the law if they feel that those who are imposing the law are legitimate themselves," he said.

Alexander won't comment specifically on the Rochester Police Department's move to more neighborhood beats, but he says it's important for law enforcement to get closer to the people in their community.

"The closer we can get to them and be able to respond in a timely manner and have opportunities to get out of our cars and get to know people in our geographic areas of responsibility, it makes for better policing. And it makes for better community/police relations."

The CEO of the Center for Dispute Settlement, Sherry Walker-Cowart, says many of Alexander's ideas should benefit the Rochester community.

"I think he has a national perspective that I think would be applicable anywhere, including Rochester and particularly because he has been in Rochester so he knows what we need," she said.

Established in 1973, the Center for Dispute Settlement was the first dispute-resolution center in the state and third in the country.