SALISBURY -- There’s a new effort to improve race relations in Rowan County, specifically dealing with police. The author of the book, “A Survival Guide: How Not to Get Killed by the Police” met with Livingstone College students, the police and Rowan-Salisbury school leaders to share the message. The former FBI agent hopes his personal experience can help others.
During his presentation, Quentin Williams shared how he was racially profiled by Newport Police in 1994.
"I complied. I wanted to make sure I was getting out of there that night. I was this close to losing my freedom,” said Williams.
The memory is a small part of why Williams wrote a survival guide. In the book, Williams shares everything from how to interact when pulled over to what to do in a racial profiling situation.
"Answer them with the respect that you intend to be given by them, and if you're not given that respect, make sure that you report it afterward,” said Williams.
The goal of the tour is to build stronger relationships between police and the community. Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins says that can never start too early.
"With the goal being just exactly what the speaker talked about. Great interactions between law enforcement and individuals in our community, and that can take place, and that's important to go well at all ages,” said Chief Collins.
Tour organizers hope school systems, including Rowan-Salisbury Schools, will use the book’s teachings in middle and high school classrooms. Students at Livingstone College say after recent incidents of violence across the country, learning tools to interact with police is important.
"I think it will help a lot of not only black males but males in general with the police,” said Dionte Forney, a senior English major at Livingstone College.
Tools that could also bridge the gap in the future when it comes to sharing information with police.
"That's how we can work together. It has to be a two way street. And whenever folks know something that they don't come forward with, then it really ties our hands,” said Chief Collins.
The group “Dedication to Community” hopes to sign a contract with Rowan-Salisbury schools to help educate students there. The non-profit is also negotiating a contract with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
"You find your good police, you find your bad police. But at the end of the day, hopefully they're all here for the common cause which is to serve,” said Forney.