KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Charleston Police Chief James “Tyke” Hunt says he and his staff continue to work with county and city leaders on how they can create a more open dialogue with the communities they serve.
“As sad as the George Floyd incident was, it brought about the need nationwide for some serious conversation,” said Chief Hunt.
Kanawha County Commission President, Kent Carper said, “There’s a new recognition in this country, so additional thought has to go in to how we police the police and how the police police us.”
Immediately after the George Floyd murder, Charleston Police took action within their own department.
“I sent an email just a few days after George Floyd to all the officers and said ‘hey, I need you to realize that when that person is in your custody, their safety is in your hands’,” said Chief Hunt.
Choke holds of any kind, such as kneeling on the neck, are a violation of CPD policy.
Chief Hunt explained he has reviewed Charleston PD’s policies and procedures several times since the George Floyd incident.
“As we’re looking through policies, I was pleased to see a progressive framework that already had several references to de-escalation.”
At the South Charleston Police Department, more inclusive training has been provided to their officers.
Capt. Pat Rader said, “Mayor Mullens and Chief Rinehart, after the events of last May in Minnesota, they were in front of this and ahead of the curve, saying we need to get some diversity training and some training for dealing with emotionally disturbed people and de-escalation.”
Kanawha County leaders and officials say the conversation doesn’t end here and that there is always room for improvement.