BRETT: Today’s EIB High Note is about former Atlanta police officer Tyrone Dennis who left the force last year to start Clippers and Cops. It’s a nonprofit organization aiming to bridge the gap between cops and the communities they serve. After 15 years on the force, Dennis couldn’t help but notice that many of the issues people have with the police could be avoided if the narrative changed. So he started partnering with barbershops, where he brings people together to talk about interacting with law enforcement in a positive way.
TYRONE DENNIS: I started it because these are my people from both sides. I straddle the fence on both because I was born black; I’m gonna die black. But I’ve been a cop for 15 years. So half of my life has been dedicated to being law enforcement, and I don’t relate to some of the horror stories that I hear about officers, and I don’t want to relate. I want to be the change that I want to see in policing.
We chose the setting of a barbershop because, as a black man, the barbershop is sacred ground. We talk about everything in a barbershop — sports, politics, women, what happened in the neighborhood — and it’s almost like everybody’s entitled to their opinion. I felt like if we could talk about all this stuff that’s pretty much not important, why can’t we talk about something that’s serious and real important?
BRETT: Dennis hopes to bring the Clippers and Cop program nationwide to reach more communities across the United States.