Department of Justice Holds First Workshop Between Pasco Communi - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Department of Justice Holds First Workshop Between Pasco Community and Police Department

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PASCO, WA. -- The community of Pasco is still trying to heal after the controversial police shooting of Antonio Zambrano back in February.

One of the ways that's supposed to happen is with the Department of Justice getting involved. They held the first public meeting Wednesday so police officers and community members could come together to talk openly.

Community members say there is still a lot of work ahead to bridge a divide that some feel is standing in the way between Pasco Police and the community. Wednesday, people spoke their minds openly in the first meeting of its kind.

"There is a perception of lack of training in certain areas and mental health being one of them," Bertha Aranda-Glatt said. 

Knight Sor from the the Department of Justice hosted the talk, labeled as a trust building workshop. 

Once the event started, Mr. Sor asked that we leave our camera outside for privacy reasons, as police officers and community members discussed heated topics like proper policing and racial profiling.  

"I'm not seeing enough positive interaction between the community and the police officers," Aranda-Glatt said. "So I'm hoping that his expertise will get us there. because I think it's important that we're having an open conversation with one another."

Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger hopes both sides can understand each other better after coming together to talk. 

"What I hope to get out of it, is that they understand about what police do," Chief Metzger said. "And we'll understand what the community thinks. And the two can come together."

Felix Vargas, from the Latino rights group Consejo Latino says events like this can help heal any divide between the public and the police. 

"We're seeing through events like this that there is something more that can be done," Vargas said. "And that is to have an honest exchange of views of what we want and expect from responsible community policing. so i think it is a good event."

All sides admit that there is still a lot of work to be done and they all agree, this work can bring a brighter future for Pasco. 

"We will get through this and we will be better for it," Vargas said. 

"We need help," Chief Metzger said. "We need help from the community. Because that's really what we want to do is help."

"Everybody belongs to this community that we want this community to be better and that we should all do it as a community," Aranda-Glatt said. "It's a start."

Knight Sor from the Department of Justice declined to be interviewed, saying it's Department of Justice policy.

But he did tell us he takes responsibility for not publicizing the event well enough to get more community members to come to the workshop. He plans to host more talks in the future and will give people plenty of notice in advance.