MASON CITY, Iowa - Mason City has seen its share of protests recently in light of the death of George Floyd.
"We support what they're doing and the voices they're trying to bring attention to. As their hometown police department, we're with them."
At Tuesday night's protest, Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley offered water to protesters, when he was greeted by a 4 year-old named Eleanor, who was with her parents and was holding up a sign that said "Am I next?". In a Facebook post, Brinkley said he was overcome by tears because it reminded him of the conversations he has had with friends, colleagues, and students of color about their experiences, some with police, and the impact it had on them.
"Here's this 4 year-old who is out here with her parents, trying to make a statement because of the color of her skin. How can I, how can we as a community, how can we as a group of people that were there that night, drive that narrative to address this and to fix it?"
And it's hoping to spark a bigger conversation with the community.
"How do we do it differently, what can we do as an agency, what can I do as a person, how can I encourage my friends, how can i encourage people that are white to understand the perspective of people of color, and make some social change to improve that."
For those who might not know how they can make a difference, Brinkley encourages asking questions, seeking answers, and educating and learning about the experiences that some people in our society go through.
"It's everyday having people understand that they have some self responsibility in learning about other cultures, and learning how to give other people a voice who otherwise don't have it."
In addition, he's wanting to seek feedback from the public.
"Let's help educate our community about what we do as police officers, let's hear their perspective about what they perceive us doing as police officers. Other things that we can do differently that might lead to some better understanding, some common ground, and some improved circumstances in those encounters when they happen from now on on the street."