Grant Boyer speaks on importance of media in police and community relations

Retired+police+officer%2C+Grant+Boyer%2C+speaks+to+high+school+journalists+at+the+Newspapers+2+conference+at+Long+Beach+City+College+on+Aug.+1.+%28Lindsay+Filgas%2F+Newspapers2%29
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Grant Boyer speaks on importance of media in police and community relations

Retired police officer, Grant Boyer, speaks to high school journalists at the Newspapers 2 conference at Long Beach City College on Aug. 1. (Lindsay Filgas/ Newspapers2)

Retired police officer, Grant Boyer, speaks to high school journalists at the Newspapers 2 conference at Long Beach City College on Aug. 1. (Lindsay Filgas/ Newspapers2)

Retired police officer, Grant Boyer, speaks to high school journalists at the Newspapers 2 conference at Long Beach City College on Aug. 1. (Lindsay Filgas/ Newspapers2)

Retired police officer, Grant Boyer, speaks to high school journalists at the Newspapers 2 conference at Long Beach City College on Aug. 1. (Lindsay Filgas/ Newspapers2)

By Lindsay Filgas

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High school journalists from across California gathered at the Newspapers 2 conference to hear about the role media plays in the public’s view of the police from retired police officer, Grant Boyer.

According to Boyer, there are three types of people – those who love the police, those who hate the police, and those who have not made up their mind. The power of the media can be seen in its ability to sway the last group of people.

“Your perspective is your reality,” Boyer said. Negative press is quick to spread across the internet and is able to leave an impact on a wide range of viewers. Recently, law enforcement has been one of the targets of negative press in the news and on social media. Because of this, many communities have rallied and protested against police, instead of supporting their officers.

Boyer discussed how the police and community need to work together to rebuild the strong and supportive relationship they once had. A resource that journalists can use to try to create a positive image of police officers is the Public Information Officer (PIO). These officers are in charge of releasing detailed reports of police activity, as well as corresponding with press. They are available 24 hours a day and represent the entire police department.

“The role and responsibility that journalists have is of the paramount importance,” Boyer said. He continued that the responsibility of the journalist is to present information in a factual and unbiased way.

When Boyer opened up to questions, students asked about and what the police force can do to try to reconnect with the community. Boyer said that, “both sides need to have professionalism,” in order to reform the positive image of law enforcement and remind the community of the goal of those in uniform.

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