ST. LOUIS – A barber shop in St. Louis was full of people for Clippers & Cops on Thursday. It was a chance for people to talk with St. Louis police officers and learn from one another about issues the community is facing.
“I hate to drive by our streets, and places that I know I used to play at and be able to walk around are no longer safe for the new generation,” said Levi Arnold.
Everyone at the event had a chance to talk, and Arnold said it was encouraging to see the turnout.
“People still care about the community, and we want to do good for our community so it’s safe for our kids and for the future generation,” Arnold said.
The CEO of Clippers & Cops, Ty Dennis, explained how the idea for the event came about.
“A barber shop is a black man’s country club. We talk about everything under the sun at a barber shop so that’s how I came up with the idea,” Dennis said. “The idea is everybody feels comfortable, everybody is equal. A lot of times, when I get my hair cut, they don’t even know that I’m a retired cop. We have open dialogue about all types of things. If we talk about things that aren’t important, why can’t we talk about citizens and policing interaction.”
He started Clippers & Cops after retiring from the Atlanta Police Department. Dennis is now hoping to bring the successful movement to his hometown and community.
“A lot of people learn about police interaction from the internet, and it’s what they’ve heard,” Dennis said. “We’re able to provide insight on how that is and how that isn’t and so on. The whole goal is to educate people, and it’s not just for the community. It’s for some of the officers to learn you make someone feel when you do certain things to a person that you arrest.”