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Goins offers tips to students

GODFREY – Alton Mayor David Goins spoke to students at Lewis and Clark Community College on Thursday as part of the college’s Black History Month events.

Along with being the city’s first black mayor, Goins is a minister who served several years with the Alton Police Department.

After graduating from college, Goins worked at the Madison County Court and Probation Services as a home detention officer and a correctional officer. In 1986 he began his career with the Alton Police Department, going on to serve seven years as a DARE Officer and School Resource Officer in the Alton school district. He also became a state certified Elderly Services Officer and Victim Assistance Officer through the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

In 1999 Goins was promoted to sergeant in the Alton Police Department. Goins recalled that service as one of the greatest times of his life.

“Was it tough sometimes? Yes it was, especially growing up in your own home town,” Goins said. “I have zero regrets with the time I served there.”

Goins also discussed how policing has been heavily scrutinized over the last few years, saying it is somewhat “justifiably so.”

“It’s kind of hard coming from a perspective of a police officer and as a Black man,” he said. “I always want to side with the guys with the shield. But some of the things I read about and see around me kind of make me scratch my head.”

Goins said that, now more than ever, accountability is everything.

“Because people are watching, because phone are always out,” he said. “You have no choice but to be accountable.”

Goins told students it is important to “treat people as you would want to be treated.” He said that one of the things he is most proud of in his policing career is that he never had to make a resisting arrest. Goins believe that was because of his demeanor as an officer.

“A soft answer turns away wrath,” he said. “I’m here to diffuse a situation, not to exacerbate the situation.”

Goins said being a police officer in is home town brought a unique set of challenges.

“You know how hard it is to put handcuffs on your best friend?” he said. “That was one of the hardest things.”

He also offered advice to students interested in becoming a law enforcement officer.

“You always have to live above what the perception is if you want to be a police officer,” he said. “You have the power, through your own actions and the way you deal with the public, to change that perception.”

Goins also spoke with praise about Alton Police Chief Marcos Pulido, saying that having Pulido was “like a dream.”

“He is so focused on making sure his officers are accountable,” Goins said. “He’s a wonderful communicator and has set a standard for the department.”


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