In this podcast, I speak with host Catherine Alonzo about the impact of doing the work of Police2Peace has had on my life. She began by asking me an unexpected question, which I really needed to think about before answering. She wanted to know about a pivotal moment of change in my life. I answered that just a few years ago, I was pretty unsatisfied with my professional work. I was helping small companies grow, but it was unfulfilling and I felt I needed something to really care about. I was working and living in Jacksonville, FL when I had a life-changing experience that led to my now career as Executive Director of Police2Peace. On a beach in Jacksonville on June 30, 2017, I saw a police vehicle enter the beach area. In that moment, with children playing in the sand and splashing in the waves, I had what could only be called a vision—I saw the words PEACE OFFICER appear on the side of the vehicle, even though they weren’t there. After that, my journey has been to make this vision real for our communities and police departments around the country through the not for profit, Police2Peace which I formed afterward.
And with that work, I do many different things but overall I’m a social change maker. My job as an executive director now is to go out and find grants, to convince departments to try something new. It seems with the way the world is today, there is social permission to do things differently, to try some new things. And so I speak with dozens and dozens of departments about this opportunity to engage differently, speak differently and take different action which is why this is the right time for this initiative to take hold. When I do that, I say that if the reminder can get officers to see the perspective of another, to enhance compassion, then it’s worthwhile.
All of this supports our vision and what we hope to create. Police2Peace is proving that the daily exchange and use of words creates a positive impact in communities. Making the word PEACE visible in public on police vehicles is already making a difference in our cities. This advocacy program has been initiated to build a strong and healthy bond between the law enforcement and the communities they serve. And beyond those programs, we are providing other training and community restorative programs to bring both sides together in facilitated ways the better everyone.