The Lewiston City Council recently received and approved the recommendations by the Mayoral Ad-hoc Committee on Equity and Diversity. These recommendations were for the City Council to take steps to ensure the city treats all residents and visitors equally and that the city’s workforce represents the diversity of our community.

Many of the recommendations spoke specifically about our police department and the need for increased community engagement, along with improved services for vulnerable populations.

With budget season now upon us, if the police department and city are serious about implementing these recommendations and really want to go from being reactive to proactive, we need to recognize and use the assets we already have in place.

A perfect example is Officer Joe Philippon. He has already established relationships throughout our city, been a conduit and liaison for the police department, built trust with our new Mainer community, and is the go-to officer when racial issues arise in our city. He has a history of organizing and attending community forums on crime, safety, mental health, substance misuse, and homelessness. He is always proactive, and clearly understands the need to move our police department forward into the 21st century.

Do we wait for another officer with these experiences and skills to come along? Or do we use the asset we already have in place to start this work that is long overdue.

Linda Scott, Lewiston

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