WEST PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Friday night’s release of the police body cam video showing the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis is sparking nationwide conversations about community policing, including right here in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.
Eyewitness News spoke with the police chief of the area’s newest regional police department, Friday night. The chief spoke about his past experiences serving one of the country’s largest cities and teaching new recruits in the academy.
“I have over two decades of experience in public safety,” said Chief D.F. Pace from Wyoming Area Regional Police Department.
Chief D.F. Pace leads the Wyoming Area Regional Police Department, which patrols five Luzerne County municipalities. Pace is a 22-year veteran of law enforcement who worked his way up through the ranks of the Philadelphia Police Department.
“One of the assignments that I enjoyed the most was as an academy instructor, where I taught a lot of courses including conflict resolution, de-escalation, and peace creation,” Pace stated.
Pace says it’s important for today’s officers to subscribe to what he calls 21st-century policing practices.
“That includes having more of a guardian mentality, community policing, and of course, always, whenever you respond to a scene, do your best, whenever possible, to lower the temperature, not raise it,” Pace added.
Pace believes a trained police officer is an effective police officer and wants to extend those opportunities to the officers in his department.
“I know we’re right at the beginning stages of this new police department, but I’m already working with various training organizations whether it be at the federal level, the state level, or the local level to see what kinds of training opportunities I can offer my officers,” Pace continued.
Pace says there is always room for improvement within every police department across the nation and here at home.
“It’s always a teachable moment when you have an opportunity to show officers where improvements are required but it’s also good to reinforce the positive things that the officers do,” Pace explained.
Pace tells Eyewitness News he is looking forward to teaching at the Lackawanna Police Academy.
The Wyoming Area Regional Police Department currently has 20 officers.