Sheriff, former law enforcement officer talk community involvement

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Last week’s deadly shootings have local law enforcement talking about what role they need to play in order to keep our communities safe.

“There’s one word that runs through my mind and that’s trust,” said former law enforcement officer Marc Benson.

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Trust seems to be the key concept most members of law enforcement can agree upon, however officials said incidents like officer involved shootings can damage that trust between civilians and officers.

“The reason, I believe, that there is no trust or that there’s a depletion of trust is because there’s so many role reversals,” Benson said.

Benson said he believes officers need to go back to strictly serving and protecting the public rather than going out and doing things like playing basketball with kids.

“Law enforcement is not doing their skill sets as job specific as they used to. In other words, law enforcement are playing roles of social workers and other issues that are far outside the realm of true law enforcement practice,” Benson said.

But Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram disagrees.

“I personally think it’s ridiculous to do anything other than interact with the community, because we’re a part of the community,” Ingram said.

Ingram said that interaction is a key component to the job.

“If you don’t have a good relationship with the people within the community, you will never really know what’s going on in a community,” said Ingram.

He went on to say in his office, deputies take their oaths very seriously and will do their best to connect with and protect everyone.

“We’re not going to target a person because of their race or sex or their religious beliefs,” Ingram said.