Posts Tagged ‘doraville’

The spread looked great.

There was a sandwich the size of 5 larges at Mighty Subs, cakes, chicken and when that started to run out Pizza. A steady stream of people came in to greet Doraville’s newly returned police chief.

John King had been had spent his time in Afghanistan training Afghan police, trying to change the a group from a society that is tribal in nature.

The Civic center was filled to hear his presentation and a great chunk of that group walked down the hill past the library to the City hall to join in the celebration.

It was the single most diverse group I had seen in my entire time in Georgia, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Mixed, all paying tribute to the chief who had returned alive from the war zone. I was told that the stereotypes of the south often portrayed in the North isn’t the reality. That day I saw a group of young white children gathered around an elderly black veteran of World War 2 talking about his time on the beaches of Normandy. The only thing I saw in their eyes was awe.

It was a good moment for a town that had come on some hard times. With the closing of the GM plant a source of jobs and tax funds had been cut off. The current mayor Ray Jenkins had high praise for his predecessor who had during those good times stockpiles millions for the city in CD’s in case of a rainy day. It had kept them going but with the county government also in tight straights the city was finding itself taking care of more and more duties that the county normally would.

It meant some hard times and people disagreed on how it was best to be handled, but those disagreements would be for another day. Today was for celebration and welcomes. the official one for Col King, but the people there were so friendly, so accommodating, and just so nice to a stranger with a strange accent who had come 1000 miles away to report on a political race that I it was almost as if the party was for me.

The Party went on for two hours after I left, I’m sorry I couldn’t stay but I look forward to seeing Doraville again someday.

Yesterday in Doraville Ga I attended a Memorial Day event at the Civic center. The featured speaker was Police Chief John King who just returned from a national guard deployment to Afghanistan. He presented a power point presentation of what he saw and I include YouTube videos of some the the highlights:

One of the hardest things to do is changing the mindset of both police and the people they serve. He touched on the fact that people are used to serving a tribe instead of a central government.

Hey does that mean those Afghanistan police will be doing racial profiling? Off camera he talked about how they have recruited female police, there is only a tiny amount but what has been does is this, daughters of people who have been hired come in as clerks and are often used handling accounts. The women have proved to be much more reliable with the funds in terms of corruption.

He then talked a bit about our losses:

He speaks some common sense there.

Finally he is answering a question on how much religion plays a part in what is happening.

The Applause at the end was well earned.

I will be writing a much longer post on the subject but I wanted to give a personal thank you for the kindness and the hospitality that the people of Doraville gave to a stranger from 1000 miles away who was intruding on their celebration and reception for their police chief who has just returned from Afghanistan. I want to give a particular thank you to the Mayor who gave me some of his time privately.

At the Reception

To Lynn Watanabe of the library I want you to know I’ve burned a CD of the events and if I don’t get a chance to drop it off before I leave, my friend Vinnie will swing by afterwards and drop it off there. All of the video I took will eventually end up on my youtube account so feel free to refer people there as well.

Chief/Col King and some of the citizens of Doraville

You know I have talked to people from Lithonia , Doraville, Atlanta, Norcross, Decatur and I have to say to my compatriots up north, if you had the pleasure of meeting the people of Georgia as I have you would have a very different picture of the south than what is currently portrayed in the media and in popular culture. I have yet to meet a person that I would not mind living on my street back home and I’ve met MANY people who I wish did.

Update: Here is a brief clip from the presentation before the reception