Eddie’s BBQ is a place where students and community members can come together to meet and talk to campus police officers. It was held on Oct. 15 and has been going for 5 years.
Founder of Eddie’s BBQ Eddie Baxter said he wanted to bring together the community of Ogden. He wanted to start small at Weber State University and slowly get bigger, bringing students of color and law enforcement together to create a relationship and address problems to find solutions.
“How else can we make change unless we stand with one another?” Baxter said.
WSU students can enjoy a meal while they get to know campus officers. Each table of students had at least one officer. Together, they could have difficult conversations to better understand one another and find ways to start solving problems.
Officer Brenchley said people’s interactions with officers are usually on their bad days, like getting pulled over or in an accident, so having events like Eddie’s BBQ can create a relationship with the police that helps the community see they’re just people, too.
“There’s a lot of stigmas on both sides with cops and the black community and the black community about cops or the community in general, but I think it’s a good way to talk and get the different perspectives on both sides so it’s easier to get rid of the stigmas or stereotypes so we can build relationships,” attendee Taysia Tate said.
Eddie’s BBQ was safe place for attendees to build relationships and be able to see both sides and perspectives on issues. It was a place where attendees could talk among themselves to find ways to slowly change and help solve current issues.
Officers want students to be able to come up to them and not be afraid because officers are people too. Eddie’s BBQ is a way for students to become more comfortable with officers so they can approach them.
“It helps people feel more comfortable to approach an officer,” Officer Brenchley said. “If you’ve hung out with an officer, you’re more willing to go up to them and ask them a question or even tell them about someone who’s making you uncomfortable.”