Clanton officer returns from summit at White House

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Captain Neil Fetner of the Clanton Police Department recently attended the 21st Century Policing Task Force Summit at the White House.

Fetner visited the nation’s capital to take part in a series of briefings given by President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force. The summit was held on Sept. 28 at the Eisenhower Executive Building at the White House.

Fetner was surprised when he arrived for the summit and was ushered into the East Room of the White House to see a ceremony.

President Obama was honoring the Joe Gibbs Racing Team for winning the 2015 Sprint Cup. During the ceremony, Kyle Busch presented the President with a racing helmet worn during the 2015 Spring Cup Season.

“A true once in a lifetime occurrence,” said Fetner.

After the ceremony, Fetner attended the summit, which included interactive breakout sessions where he had the chance to communicate with law enforcement from across the U.S. about the most relevant policing issues of the day.

The topics were selected based on extensive research done by Obama’s task force, which was created in response to an apparent increase in tensions between the public and police. The goal of the force was to uncover ways to improve police relations with the communities they are sworn to protect.

Neil Fetner

Neil Fetner

“The biggest thing I took away is that we have some interesting things going on in our country, and law enforcement all need to be on the same page,” said Fetner.

Session topics included building trust and legitimacy, community policing, crime reduction, policy, oversight, police data initiatives, training, education, officer wellness, safety, implicit bias, technology and social media.

Fetner emphasized the importance of well-rested, well-trained officers who are prepared to deal with the unique strains of the job. He also mentioned that one program the department already does is very effective.

CPD works with the West End Neighborhood Watch to get feedback and establish a positive relationship with the community. Efforts like this were encouraged at the summit, according to Fetner.

“We’ve got to bridge some gaps in our community,” said Fetner. “If we don’t bridge those gaps, we’ll always have that disconnect in our community. A number of cases go unsolved because [minority groups] don’t come to us because they don’t trust us.”