Interview with Dale Bowlin

I'd like to ask you, what you, what was learned from the McDuffie incident and how things changed?


Well, one of the things we did was to develop a, a team approach, a modified team approach in the hot spot areas. For example, one of the housing projects where a lot of the violence centered around, where officers were, ah, each time they would go in there would be rocked and bottled and cursed at. To answer a call and they would get in very quickly and get out so that there was no relationship between them and the citizens. We took a couple volunteer officers, a White officer and Black officer, and I asked them, "This is going to be the toughest assignment of your life, and I want you to work nothing but this project, and I want you to do it on foot." And for the first four weeks of that assignment, they got cursed at, there were rocks thrown at them, they began to, ah, scream at them each time they came in, there was just this great hostility between them and the citizens. But they persisted, and we persisted, and an interesting thing happened: they began to see, over a period of weeks, that these became their police officers. They were there every day, they weren't leaving, they were on foot. And we knew there was a great deal of criminals living in there, and there were a great deal of good citizens, but they certainly weren't going to identify the crooks and then be left there alone. And so, it gave us an opportunity, for example, the officers would be walking through the development and someone would say, "Hey, can I see you for a second?" Say, "I don't want you to say nothing, but I happen to know that that person over there, that lives there, robbed a convenience store last night. But don't say I said it." So we began to arrest the real criminals. And then the kids, the younger kids, began to refer--