U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, has been named to a working group of U.S. House members “to examine police accountability, aggression toward law enforcement and public safety concerns related to these issues.”
Collins said he will draw of his life experiences as a Baptist pastor, an attorney and the son of a Georgia state trooper. Over the past year, he said these topics have caused concern across the country.
“These are the topics that people are talking about in homes and coffee shops,” Collins said in an interview with The Times. “This is the country we love. We need to come together.”
Collins stressed the importance of “talking to each other instead of at each other.”
The group was formed in the aftermath of the recent killing of two black men by police, one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota, and the killing of five police officers who were providing security for a peaceful protest in Dallas that followed those incidents.
Collins said he and his colleagues will bring an open mind to the discussion and “hear each other on what may work and try to find better outcomes.”
Collins is one of six Republicans on the working group, which also includes six Democrats. Collins is also part of the Judiciary Committee, which formed the group.
The group will hold roundtable discussions about the issues fueling excessive force by law enforcement and attacks against police officers. This will begin with a private roundtable in Washington. Outside leaders also will be invited to meet with the working group, according to a press release from the House Judiciary Committee.
The first such private discussion is set for Thursday. Scheduled to be part of the talk are the Rev. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J., and Deborah A. Ramirez, executive director for the Partnering for Prevention and Community Safety Initiative and professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law.