Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds, Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas, and Valpo alumnus Darryl Jackson Jr. signed a joint statement on Tuesday, calling for further discussion of issues and bias training for local police officers.

The joint statement comes in the wake of Jackson’s arrest on Aug. 29 by a Burns Harbor police officer as part of the Porter County Gang Task Force. Charges against Jackson for resisting law enforcement and refusing to identify have been dropped by the Porter County prosecutor Brian Gensel.

The Valparaiso community has since divided in tension-filled discussions at meetings of the Valparaiso Human Relations Council.

Reynolds, Costas and Jackson are now coming together in reconciliation. They’ve mutually agreed the incident serves as a good learning experience and hope to initiate a change that will improve the city.

“It’s on all of us to stop the cycle of disrespect,” Jackson told the NWI Times.

The joint statement was brokered by Heath Carter, professor of history and Valparaiso community member.

Carter helped to bring the three together to change the focus based on the community’s reaction to Jackson’s arrest.

“I think it’s acknowledging that we aren’t where we want to be, but we’re committed to getting there,” Carter said to the NWI Times. “The public and our city and county leaders are interested in moving in a positive direction and making some concrete commitments doing things that are going to produce positive, peaceful relationships moving forward.”’

The Human Relations Council will gather for their monthly meeting on Tuesday Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Valparaiso City Hall. The meeting is open to the public, community members are encouraged to attend.

The Torch will continue to follow this story and provide updates on future developments. Contact Jessica Moon and Rebecca Gesme at torch@valpo.edu.

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