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Columbus Entrepreneur Creates Workshop On Surviving Police Stops

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Police shootings of black men after traffic stops inspired a Columbus company to hold training sessions on what to do and not do when you are stopped by police.

The following is an automated transcript of the above interview, please excuse all errors in the text.

Debbie Holmes: Police shootings of black men after traffic stops inspired a Columbus company to hold training sessions on what to do and not do when you are stopped by police. An interactive workshop will be held this Saturday at Mansion Day School on the East Side.

With me to talk about that is Demia Kandi, she's founder of Significance. It's a company that typically trains employees on personal and professional development in a variety of profit and nonprofit workplaces. Thanks so much for joining me Demia.

Demia Kandi: Thank you.

Debbie Holmes: So now you've added training on how to behave during a traffic stop. So tell me why you decided to do this?

Demia Kandi: The most recent events have been horrific and I am a professional, but I'm a mother of two African-American males and we have all experienced that. You know my husband is an African-American man and so the heartbreak is real and it's personal. But I wanted to make sure that I was on the action side or on the solution side and I knew what my expertise was.

So I decided to put together a workshop just to help save lives. That even when we know that there's evil around us and that there are good fill in the blank, that could be police officers, educators, social workers and then there's bad of those same things I knew that for us if we could train as many young people, it helped me realize that there are some conversations that I have had them with my sons I hadn't had them with my daughters about what to do if you're stopped by the police.

Debbie Holmes: Have you held many training sessions yet? 

Demia Kandi: This will be our first of this magnitude. Our background is we do a lot of training in the area of cultural competency and so this certainly falls inline with that. We also began training social workers 15 years ago, and when we would train the social workers we had police officers in our trainings. We're very comfortable with this content and we're very comfortable with this type of training.

Debbie Holmes: What are the normal actions people should take then when an officer comes up to their car after they've been stopped?

DemiaKandi: Well first of all your hands are at 10 and two on the wheel. You asked for permission to move and you acknowledge the movement verbally. The unfortunate reality is that what we've seen on the videos those people did those things and yet they're not here. Most would say that doesn't work, Significant says it does work and we need to make sure. Someone is going to work on stopping the killing, I need to work on training the young people. 

Debbie Holmes: And I understand that you spoke with several police departments about how to create the training. DemiaKandi: Yes. Debbie Holmes: And what did you discuss then?

DemiaKandi: With technology, anyone can can Google anything from the Department of Justice there's information, tips on what to do what not to do, the ACLU has information and will be passing that out at the workshop. What I really wanted to know is what's not written.

Debbie Holmes: So what is it then that we're not supposed to do that maybe we don't know that could get us into trouble?

DemiaKandi: In my thinking I tend to be proactive instead of reactive. So as I watch the events I thought you know from now on what I'm going to do is if I see the lights then I'm going to reach for my driver's license and registration as I'm pulling over, I'm a mom certainly I can multitask.

Once I'm stopped I already have that we don't have the issue of them watching me reach, but after interviewing law enforcement that's actually more dangerous because once the lights are on they're already monitoring us, they're already assessing the situation. And so any movement whether I'm reaching for something, a reach to them is life threatening.

Debbie Holmes: How do we break through this then it seems like you know police officers need to be involved in these workshops?

DemiaKandi: There are several arms to this. Our arm is training the young people and some people would say well they're not the problem and I don't believe that they are, but I know that's what I'm supposed to be doing.

Debbie Homes: I've been talking with DemiaKandi, who is the founder of Significance. It's a company that has developed a workshop to teach people how to safely interact with law officials during a traffic stop. Thanks so much for joining me.

DemiaKandi: Thank you.