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Lynchburg Police Department begins series of listening sessions with community

First session is Wednesday at Jefferson Park Center

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Members of the Lynchburg Police Department will be meeting community members on Wednesday at their homes to hear what they’ve got to say.

“I think that a lot of people think it’s just a griping session,” said James Camm, co-founder of One Community One Voice.

Camm works on community-based events with the police department.

He has his ears plugged into the neighborhoods where some say LPD’s listening sessions won’t make a difference.

“My response to them is, you can’t always say that unless you attempt to try,” Camm said.

Chief Ryan Zuidema said the six sessions will be in the predominately black neighborhoods because that’s who he’s heard from.

“If we weren’t concerned, we wouldn’t be doing these to begin with. We want to hear from our community,” Zuidema said.

Jefferson Park Center is the first stop for the police department in the listening sessions. The city will have chairs spread at least six-feet apart outside on the grass and basketball court, and are capping the limit at 250 people. They also recommend anyone who wants to be a part to wear a mask.

“Obviously with the pandemic still going on, we want to make sure everyone’s health and safety is of utmost importance, including those attending this event,” Zuidema said.

The department isn’t sure how many people will show, but it’s open to all and Camm encourages all to come with an open mind.

“It’s no good to sit on the porch and complain if you’re not going to have your voice heard when your opportunity comes,” Camm said.

Below is a full list of when and where the listening sessions will be.

Community Listening Session #1

Date: Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: Jefferson Park, 405 York Street

Community Listening Session #2

Date: Thursday, July 9, 2020

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: Diamond Hill Center, 1005 17th Street

Community Listening Session #3

Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: Daniel's Hill Center, 317 Norwood Street

Community Listening Session #4

Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: College Hill Center, 811 Jackson Street

Community Listening Session #5

Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2020

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: Jubilee Center, 1512 Florida Avenue

Community Listening Session #6

Date: Thursday, August 6, 2020

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: Miller Park, 301 Grove Street