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Lynchburg man wants to build better relationships with police, community

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LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) - A Lynchburg man is hosting an event Thursday to improve community relations with police.

Ricky Theodore says he wants people in the James Crossing neighborhood to be educated and trust police officers. He's holding the Peace with Police event because he's frustrated with what he and many others call "excessive police force against African Americans."

Theodore says the goal is to make sure people in the community respect law enforcement and vice-versa.

Theodore says he doesn't want what happened in Ferguson to happen in the City of Lynchburg.

"Be respectful to the cop, if he pulls you over. Answer them right away. Don't give them a reason to shoot you. If your rights are being violated, they will pay," Theodore says.

Sergeant Todd Swisher with the Lynchburg Police Department says officers normally go out and talk with residents to build relationships.

Swisher hopes the event Thursday night will be productive.

"The important thing for all of us is to express thoughts and ask questions and listen to one another. If that's the case, it can be a productive conversation," Swisher says.

The Peace with Police event is at 5 p.m. Thursday at the James Crossing Housing Complex Community Center.