The Seminary Explores
The Reflections of an African American Police Chief

The Reflections of an African American Police Chief

March 28, 2022

Darius Potts, Chief of Police in Ankeny Iowa, discusses the challenges facing law enforcement officers during a time of distrust and gaps between the police and the community. He is the first African American to be Police Chief in Ankeny, IA.

As Chief, he feels that one of his responsibilities is to decrease the stress levels that his officers face. That is accomplished in part by promoting communication and yearly structured mental health support for every officer.

Throughout his career in law enforcement, Potts has had to strike a balance between being an officer and dealing with the experiences of those in the communities he served. He explains the importance for both officers and the community to understand the long history of mistrust of police and that it is not a new phenomenon. African American candidates in law enforcement especially must grapple with this as they consider the profession.

Ankeny is a growing community, but the recruitment of officers is down. Fewer people are taking an interest in this profession. At present, his department is down seven staff members. The department will need more women and men for a growing community. Potts is optimistic about law enforcement and would encourage young people to consider it as their life work. With all the present-day challenges to law enforcement, Potts believes it is a noble profession.

Examining  and Reflecting on 9/11

Examining and Reflecting on 9/11

September 10, 2018

Dr. Dennis Onieal discussed the events of 9/11 as a first responder. the former head of the Jersey City Fire Department and currently Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator for the U.S. Fire Administration, was called to help following the attack. He discussed the clean-up effort and the responsibility of civilians during such a crisis. He called attention to the issues that were not publicized but essential in the recovery effort. In addition, he talked about the post-9/11 changes in instruction for policemen, firefighters, etc. in responding to attacks. In addition, he shared how he handled his own feelings after working at the 9/11 site.

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