November 19, 2018
Dear Ms. Standaert and Mr. Correa,
My name is Max Cherman and I am a student at Duke. I would personally like to thank you, as leaders of the Durham Human Relations Committee, for the HRC’s thoughtful and thorough draft report, findings, and recommendations on the City Council’s statement regarding international police exchanges. This issue has caused unnecessary tension and division in the community, and I believe your proposal would help us bring this divisive issue to a productive end. It would address the need for more responsible, de-militarized, and de-racialized policing while avoiding divisive statements unnecessarily singling out Israel in the discussion of the city’s opposition to international military-style police exchanges.
It is imperative that we move on from this issue. Too much time has been spent focusing on theories and presumptions of what training Chief Lopez did or did not receive in Israel, especially considering that whatever training Chief Lopez did receive has not led to any policy changes within the DPD. At this point, given the tension this issue has caused in our community, I think it’s an understatement to say that members of the DPD are unlikely to engage is further exchanges in Israel. Given the fact that the DPD has historically had visitors/training from representatives of other countries as well, the most proactive handling of this situation would be to address potential police exchanges/training with representatives from any country as a blanket policy clearly applied to all countries equally. The draft revisions so eloquently do this, and I am very grateful for your efforts in making these changes.
Thank you again for the HRC’s sensible leadership on this issue.
Duke University Class of 2020