Kinston holds first public ‘Community Relations’ meeting

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Residents of Kinston had the chance to express their opinion on community solutions to local law enforcement.

A public forum was held at the Kinston – Lenoir Public Library on Thursday night.

The meeting was the first of its kind for the city of Kinston.

A series of recent crimes in the area have police are focusing on their outreach efforts to strengthen the safety of the community.

Kinston Police Chief Alonzo Jaynes said, “We definitely need to do this as a community the police can’t do it alone.”

Chief Alonzo Jaynes helped create the Community Relations Team.

Jaynes said, “I have full confidence in the community, we have the mission the people and the charge so I think we’re ready to do great things.”

The team is designed to allow members of the community to have open dialogue with law enforcement.

“We could go by statistics and try to be as strategic as possible but there maybe things going on in the community that the police aren’t aware of,” said Jaynes.

Chris Suggs is a Kinston High School senior and is one of the youngest on the team.

Suggs said, “When we look at crime and gang activity and drug activity many of those issues stem from poverty and lack of economic opportunity.”

Suggs said he has a solution.

“We really need to invest in economic development in our area to provide jobs and resources and opportunities for people to not have to resort to crime and drugs and illegal activity,” said Suggs

He said the talks are complicated but important to have.

“When we talk about those deep issues, is what we need to have if we really want to effect the community to decrease crime in Kinston,” Suggs added.

For Chief Jaynes it’s about putting the power in the community’s hands.

“I really want them to lead this and I want the police to be more a resource,” said Jaynes. “I think that’s the whole concept of community policing.”

The Community Relations Team said its goal is to have more people join their efforts.

They said a wide range of input on public safety will make them more likely to solve the problems.

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