Travis Co. Sheriff's Office to host town hall, discuss "use of force"

The Travis County Sheriff's Office will  discuss its use of force policy with the public and take questions Saturday

It's a topic that has made headlines  across the nation, and, many people who live in Travis County  are ready to sound off.

Daniel Centena was born and raised in East Austin. He frequents this park, and often sees lots of loitering. He says officers patrol the area, but the approach could be different.

“They won't get off and talk to the people, and communicate with them and tell them we don't need this drinking and smoking, and doing drugs,” said Centena.

It's that reactive approach that agencies like the TCSO are trying to get rid of. They want to be proactive. Saturday they are holding a town hall at Millennium Youth Complex.

“We are going to talk about case laws, different use of force policies, and tactic on how we train,” said Sr. Deputy John Cullen.

Officers say the best thing they can do is listen to the citizens. But some feel that's not happening.

“Talking to the community, I think that's such an important part of law enforcement, to say we hear your concerns,” said Cullen.

Austin NAACP president Nelson Linder helps put on the town hall every month. He says the sheriff's office has something to be proud of.

“I've studied them and they have a great track record not only here but also they're respected across the country in terms of de-escalation,” said Nelson Linder, president of Austin NAACP.

Will the monthly town halls make a change? Only time will tell. Centena thinks it's a step in the right direction.

“You don't have to jump on them, or anything like that or arrest them. If you arrest them they won’t mind, stay one night, come out and do the same thing again,” said Centena.

This is the fourth year the Austin NAACP has put on town hall events.They are held every first Saturday of the month. Different agencies rotate speaking  at the events.

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