Posted by Linda Lynch
President Sue called our meeting to order and at an atypical 12:35. She got things moving quickly though and soon Nicole Baumer was delivering our invocation, which focused on being thankful, which was followed by “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”, accompanied by Stephanie Gewirtz on piano.
Kim Garland handled the microphone for the introduction of guests and then found Diane Sanborn, who was dressed as a witch for Halloween to learn that the health of our club is good.
President Sue introduced Cathy Zell for her new member presentation. Sponsored by Courtney Millbrook and Lisa Smith, Cathy shared details about her family, education, career, community involvement and interests. She has quite a varied background and I’m sure she would enjoy telling you more about her journey from teaching to fund raising.
Capping off our month-long dive into all that Lansing Community College has to offer, our special music featured siblings Stephanie and Jonathon Gewirtz introduced by Ken Beachler. Jon plays saxophone and teaches at LCC. Stephanie plays for various shows in the community and is currently the music minister at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lansing. After playing composition by Von Wertz, the two concluded with Carnival of Venice by Paganini. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who recognized the variation of “My Hat, It Has Three Corners”.
Dean Sienko represented Rotarians who celebrated October birthdays. His question explored what superpowers these Rotarians would like to have. Several wanted to be able to fly, while Darwin Brewster claimed he already possessed the power to always select the slowest line anywhere there is one! Terry Terry would like the power to see things as they really are, and Cathy Andrews would like the power of healing. The group boasted 76% participation with $1500 raised for our foundation.
President Sue announced that the Membership and Retention Committee will meet following our November 5th meeting. Anyone who is interested in being part of this committee is encouraged to attend.
Before turning the podium over for the day’s program, President Sue thanked Cathy Zell and Steve Robinson for a solid month of programs that highlighted Lansing Community College. Steve introduced Chief Daryl Gaines, Chief of Police for LCC, by quickly reviewing his background and commenting that he has already had an incredible impact even though he has only been Chief for 5 months.
Chief Gaines gave us a glimpse into the events that led him to law enforcement. He grew up in New Jersey, outside of New York City. Police in New Jersey did not have a good reputation, particularly in the black community. Consequently, he had no dream to become a police officer. On two different occasions, he found himself surrounded by a large police presence, thrown on the ground and handcuffed, even though he bore no resemblance to a suspect or was guilty of nothing more than being black in a neighborhood that was not familiar to him.
These events led him to a decision to try to change policing by becoming an officer. During this time, he was beginning to date the woman who was to become his wife. In an early conversation exploring what they each wanted from life, she stated that she would never marry a police officer. In spite of that statement, he won her over. They married in 2000 and he joined the Baltimore Police Academy in 2001.
Chief Gaines was promoted to Sergeant in 2008 and knew that there was a lot of policing going on that should not have been. The community was being mistreated and the situation came to a head in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray. The riots that followed were the result of a police force that was not mindful of the communities that it served. The opportunity for Chief Gaines to effect change didn’t come for several more years, when he was promoted to Major, a rank he held for 3 years until his retirement.
Chief Gaines believes that the best place to start change is with the younger generation. He wanted the opportunity to run his own department and train younger officers. His wife is from Flint, so when the position at LCC surfaced, he welcomed the opportunity.
At LCC, Chief Gaines is focusing on diversity and transparency. To provide transparency, the department has begun issuing a Stop Receipt after every contact. A responding officer gives a Stop Receipt to any individual with whom the officer has official contact. Stop Receipts are actual, physical pieces of paper containing all the relevant information resulting from a person's interactions with LCC police: time, date, location, officer name and service number, reason for interaction, race, gender, and the result of the interaction. Other information pertaining to force or other aspects of police intervention will also be chronicled on Stop Receipts.
Diversity efforts are focusing on identifying individuals who would like to become officers and providing sponsorship to the Police Academy. There is also work underway to create a dashboard for data collection and analysis.
The department’s goal for 2022 is to become an accredited police department. This accreditation will legitimize the department and focuses on policies and practices.
With no time for questions, President Sue thanked Chief Gaines for speaking to us and explained that we will make a donation to our foundation in his name in lieu of a speaker’s gift.
On November 5th, we will be back at the Lansing Center for a panel around non-profit leadership, featuring Paula Cunningham, Teresa Kmetz, Pam Miklavcic and Carmen Turner. Rich Howard will be our Chair of the Month for November.
President Sue adjourned the meeting on time.
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