As crowds of hundreds chanting “no justice, no peace” have gathered in downtown Waco this month to call for racial justice and systemic police reform following the death of George Floyd, Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt said in an interview that Waco police have long embraced training and protocols police reform advocates are calling for, such as the #8cantwait campaign, and he has had good communication with black community leaders and organizers of the recent protests.

He said many of the frustrations he has heard in recent weeks cannot be solved solely by police reforms. “The truth is there are deep systemic issues about race and mistreatment of communities of color that reach far beyond policing,” Holt said. “So it’s got to be a robust conversation about all of those things.”

Holt plans to give the Waco City Council a report Tuesday, June 16, on steps the department has taken to prevent police brutality and build trust with communities of color. And he said he welcomes a conversation about how the department can do that better, even if it means rethinking some roles police have traditionally played.

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