BY DANZA JOHNSON

Daily Journal

TUPELO - After going through a three-day diversity training course, Tupelo Police Chief Harold Chaffin is sure it will benefit his department.

"I've been a police officer for 33 years and this training has opened my eyes to new things and ideas when dealing with different people," said Chaffin after attending the workshop. "Training like this is needed to help officers realize that people are different and have to be dealt with in different ways."

The $3,600 workshop was mandatory for police department employees. Danna Andrus, an instructor with the Gulf States Community Police Institute in New Orleans, said this type of training is vital for police departments.

"Police have to look at a situation and make discussions without looking at race, gender and lifestyles," Andrus said. "Diversity is more than just race. It's age, gender, hip hop, anything that makes us different.

Chaffin said the workshop will benefit younger officers.

"We have a lot of young officers who haven't been on the streets that long and need to know how to deal with different people," said Chaffin. "We strive for our officers to treat everyone with respect and this training will help with that."

Chamila Brown, the department's only Hispanic officer, enjoyed the training.

"In my six years as an officer here, I've been treated great," she said. "I'm proud of the department for realizing that people are different and putting on this training."

Chaffin said the department has done this type of training before, and there will be more sessions.

Contact Daily Journal law enforcement reporter Danza Johnson at 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com

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