What can be done about policing in America? Episode 1 of ‘Solutionaries’ tackles this very question

What can be done about policing in America? (Solutionaries.)

It’s probably a word you’ve never heard before, but it’s not made up: A Solutionary is someone who recognizes a problem or injustice in society, and comes up with creative and innovative ways to tackle those inequities -- thus, making the world a better place, one step at a time.

And now, Graham Media Group is debuting a brand new, digital-only show to recognize these “Solutionaries,” as they’re called.

The show, launched with WKMG News 6, is called exactly that: “Solutionaries,” and you can watch it on YouTube and through AppleTV, Roku or another streaming service of your choice. The pilot episode premiered Friday, and featured the stories of those who are evolving law enforcement practices in Central Florida to reduce the risk of violent encounters; particularly, when it comes to members of the community who suffer from mental illness and men and women of color.

We thought we’d walk you through episode one, to show you exactly what this newscast, which is all about solutions-based journalism, really looks like.

1. Allow us to introduce ourselves.

As journalist Brianna Volz tells you in the clip above, this is our journey to find the passionate people out there who are tackling big problems -- the creative thinkers and doers looking to get results and working to make our world a better place.

(And by the way, if you’re a Solutionary, or you have an idea for a future show, keep reading! We’ll provide instructions at the end of this story for how you can get in touch. And we’d LOVE it if you did). OK, back to the episode: Policing in America.

2. How a man who says he was wrongfully arrested and a police chief were able to find common ground.

In the video above, you’ll meet Jomardrick Wilcox, who was at a pizza shop in Daytona Beach in June 2019 when he was taken into custody with one officer placing a knee on his back and another holding a Taser near his head. “I thought it was a pistol,” Wilcox said. “All I know is, there is a weapon to my head, and at any moment, if he felt like it, there goes my life.”

We don’t want to give this one away, but Wilson and a police chief actually share some common ground here -- and it’s interesting to hear perspective on the incident from both of them. They agree that officers could do a better job of policing one other.

3. Know your rights: This acronym can help you remember what to keep in mind when interacting with police.

If that last clip has you wondering about what you would do if you were stopped by police, no matter what the situation was, we spoke with an attorney from the Detroit Justice Center, who walked us through some steps regarding how to handle a traffic stop or another police encounter.

4. Could better training make a difference?

As controversial police shootings often make headlines, many officers are focusing more on de-escalation training, to help them in tense encounters.

What exactly does that mean, “de-escalation training?” Take a peek.

5. What is withheld adjudication, and why should you care?

If you’re keeping up on these segments, then you heard us use that term, “withheld adjudication.” It sounds tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here, we’ll explain the meaning and chat for a minute about how it comes into play in a court of law.

6. Training can be effective -- and these numbers prove it.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood was sworn in in 2017, and one of his first acts was implementing de-escalation training that put an emphasis on ending stressful encounters peacefully.

The sheriff initially received criticism when he started implementing the new training, but now, Chitwood said, he has proof that it’s working. Listen in for more.

7. Is the policing system broken? This activist says yes.

Meaggan Thomas, the founder of the Tampa Bay Activist Network, has some strong ideas when it comes to policing in America.

As for her solution? You might think it’s radical, or the direction in which we’re headed.

8. Implicit bias: What it really means

Here’s another one of those vocabulary check-ins: “Time to Define,” as we’re calling it.

Knowing what implicit bias means could help you identify any of your own. This lesson is valuable, timely and incredibly important.

9. A police chief weighs in.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young spoke with us about what it meant to be a Black man in his role.

Young said how he’s treated while in uniform is very different than how he’s treated when he’s not.

10. Could providing mental health resources help reduce crime?

One police department in particular created a unique partnership to help make sure residents’ mental health needs are being met.

This is an innovative concept you’ll definitely want to check out.

11. All the solutions to consider.

So, all this said, how can agencies and people nationwide improve things?

Is it by continuing the discussion? Letting mental health have a bigger space in the conversation? Creating specialized units?

These are just some of the solutions that could help improve policing practices.

Like we said above, we’d love to hear from you. If you have feedback about the show, or you’d like to contribute an idea for a future episode, you can reach us at solutionaries@grahammedia.com.

To read more about the clips you watched above, this is the article you’ll want.

Watch the whole episode or check out our YouTube page and subscribe.

Learn more: Solutionaries