Cedric Alexander spoke about criminal injustice among black Americans as well as the division of different communities of color in America.
Alexander lectured at Memorial Union as part of the Iowa Student Government Lecture Series on Criminal Justice Reform. Alexander is a former Dekalb County Police Chief and also served as Chairman of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officials.
“If any part of our community in this country, in this nation, feels like they’re not being treated fairly, feels like they’re not part of the American family, that’s not just a problem, it’s becomes a problem for all of us, âsaid Alexandre.
He addressed the death of Micheal Brown in 2014 and the death of George Floyd in 2020 and how that marks a turning point for the country’s criminal justice system. He said this is happening because of the inclusive culture of the younger generation.
He spoke of his support for building a strong bond between the police and the community. He said the police should be a “reactive” force and not a “preventive” force.
“It’s not about being left or right.” Alexander said, “It’s about us as American citizens trying to figure out how we make sure we focus on what is very important to us in our communities.”
He said more transparency in the police and improved training methods to create a service that works better for the betterment of the community.
Alexander said one way to improve policing is to change the way departments recruit officers. He said recruiting needs to go much further than a minor criminal background check, but should instead confirm that they will stick to the oath they take and find people of good character.
Alexander uses the case of George Floyd as an example. He said that when a young officer named Thomas Lane suggested turning Floyd over, Derek Chauvin refused.
He said police reform will require community accountability, and it must begin with the leadership and example of veterans in the criminal justice system. Alexander said we can create a better future for our community by supporting and building relationships with our local police.
âIf we have a strong community, we have strong cities, strong states and a strong nation,â Alexander said.