Prosecutors, public talk
Two prosecutors from the Allen County prosecutor’s office worked to connect with the community and answered questions at Community Unity Night on Thursday evening.
They were invited by the Fort Wayne Parks Department to the Weisser Park Youth Center, and partnered with the Fort Wayne Police Department and Fort Wayne United.
Community Unity Night began a year ago to bring the community and law enforcement together, said Mitch Sheppard, a parks department deputy director. Several meetings have been held at other centers over the last year.
“The purpose of (the meeting) is to engage the community and especially our youth,” Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed said outside in the hallway as adult participants spoke with prosecutors. The press was not allowed inside the meeting room because of the sensitive nature of the discussion.
Outside the youth center, a police robot was shown to children attending an after-school program.
After the meeting ended, deputy prosecutors Tom Chaille and Jeff Stineburg said most people focused on the witness protection program and “how to get that information to law enforcement in a safe way,” Stineburg said.
Chaille said he thought the talk went “very well.”
Joe Ayers, an activist who attended the session, said he wanted to see the witness protection program strengthened but also wanted parents to teach their children responsibility.
“It’s not the responsibility of police officers and teachers to raise our kids,” Ayers said. “This generation, they have a code of not snitching.”