Tuscaloosa PD officer talks about improving community relations

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Public relations has become more of a police officer's job than ever before.

During National Police Week, one officer is talking about what he's tried to do to improve relations with his community.

Tuscaloosa Police Officer Joshua Senkbeil's left headquarters to start his 2 o'clock shift Tuesday.

"Really, we're just trying to keep the actual law abiding citizens safe," Senkbeil said.

That sounded simple, but the relationship between police and the public they serve is sometimes strained.

"Usually we get a negative attitude as soon as we stop on scene and get out with somebody. So I'd say that's the biggest battle we face every day when we go out on calls," Senkbeil said.

The job of police officers is getting harder to do because of viral videos and because Hollywood can show them in a bad light.

We rode along with Officer Senkbeil while he patrolled his beat.

"Most of the time when we're out with people, it's the worst time of their life," Senkbeil went on to say.

He said police have to be more responsible for knowing the people in the community and earning their trust.

"We always want to get out and have a positive impact on people. Anything we can do to defeat the negative perception will help us in the long run," Senkbeil concluded.

Tuscaloosa police are making more of an effort to reach out to teens. They started some new programs where they interact with Tuscaloosa City School children during the school year and during the summer.

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