Sacred Heart University and the Town of Trumbull have been hosting several programs in a series of talks on civility this fall. The first two programs took place Oct. 18, and covered the topics of Civility in Public Safety and Civility in Politics. A third program took place on Oct. 25, and focused on Civility in the Media. Three lectures remain in the civility series: Civility in Law on \u00a0Sunday,\u00a0Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. at Trumbull High School; Civility in Sports in the Forum at Sacred Heart University\u2019s Martire Center on Sunday,\u00a0Nov. 15 at 5 p.m.; and Civility in Education on Sunday,\u00a0Nov. 22 at 5 p.m. at Trumbull High School. Below is a summary of the first three discussions. Public safety Bob Laska, former president and publisher of the Connecticut Post, served as moderator of a group that included Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe, set to retire in January after a 37-year career in law enforcement; Trumbull Police Chief Michael Lombardo, a 33-year veteran of the Wilton Police force before his Trumbull appointment in 2014; and Connecticut State Police Lt. Anthony Schirillo, an FBI graduate and trooper for 31 years. Laska noted that civility in law enforcement is particularly important in light of some of the recent situations across the country, such as the teen shooting by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., that sparked riots. In that context, Laska asked the group to define civility in public safety. \u201cWe need to be more than polite in light of our diversities, and go beyond that,\u201d Kehoe said. Officer selection and training rose to the top as key elements supporting civility. \u201cNo matter what the agency, we are all dealing with people, maybe in crisis or a victim, and we ask our officers to always try to imagine they are a family member and how would they would want them to treated,\u201d Lombardo said. \u201cHow could the public be more civil?\u201d Laska asked. \u201cThey should understand that we are sometimes put in a very difficult situation, and we try to resolve and handle it as best as we can based on our experience and training,\u201d said Kehoe. \u201cSometimes people jump to a conclusion without knowing all the facts, and the media may stoke it up. If we can just step it back a little bit, it would be better for everyone,\u201d Schirillo suggested. \u201cIs there a difference between urban and suburban policing?\u201d Laska wondered. Lombardo said, \u201cPeople are people wherever you go. It comes down to how you are treated. Perception is key. You could be the best officer, but if a person sees you as unprofessional, it may be a problem.\u201d \u201cThere needs to be a better understanding on both sides.\u201d Schirillo pointed out, \u201cUrban areas are more dense rather than neighbors being an acre apart, which can impact certain situations when people start to gather around a scene.\u201d One final hot topic was the much-talked-about body cameras for police officers. Lombardo favored them, noting, \u201cIt will be a good thing. The majority of instances show that the officer conducted himself properly. However,\u201d he cautioned, \u201cvideo may not cover every aspect of what an officer is doing.\u201d Politics Todd Piro, NBC Connecticut\u2019s morning anchor, emceed the second group, joined by David M. Walker, former U.S. comptroller general; Nancy L. Johnson, former U.S. representative of Connecticut\u2019s fifth district 1983-2007; and John DeStefano, Jr., former mayor of New Haven 1994-2014. Speaking about polarization in politics, Johnson remarked, \u201cDifferences within each party are natural. Conflicts are longstanding. The real question is why is it paralyzing action? Partly because of an inability to understand an opponent\u2019s point of view. It\u2019s terrible for our country.\u201d DeStafano noted, \u201cPeople see compromise as not a good thing. We need to look for places to cooperate and find common ground.\u201d Walker pointed to leadership, saying, \u201cIf you don\u2019t have a chief executive lighting a fire under legislators, you\u2019re not going to get things done.\u201d As to changes needed to our political system, Walker listed redistricting reform, primary changes, campaign finance and lobbying reform and 12-year term limits at the federal level. \u201cWhat we have now is gridlock. Doing nothing is not good,\u201d he said. Johnson added, \u201cPeople feel disenfranchised. We need to get back to legislating the way the law requires.\u201d Piro wondered if the media is to blame for some of the problems. \u201cThere\u2019s an imbalance in media and in universities on how we talk about public issues,\u201d Johnson suggested. Walker said media is \u201cnot the problem, but part of the problem\u201d and that keeping comments to sound bites doesn\u2019t help. He also thought that people are following news sources that lean to one view or another, which gives them only one side of a story. \u201cWhat\u2019s social media\u2019s impact on civility in politics?\u201d Piro asked. \u201cI love social media. People organize around an issue, it sustains connections and keeps them engaged,\u201d said DeStefano. Walker opined, \u201cIt has a significant net positive except when you have people on there anonymously speaking out without accountability.\u201d Looking down the line five years, Johnson said, \u201cI think we will knock down some of the barriers, and the federal government and people will be closer.\u201d Media The presentation was moderated by George Colli, an investigative reporter for NBC Connecticut News, and featured guests Al Terzi, a media veteran who hosts Fox CT\u2019s political issues program The Real Story, and Christine Stuart, editor-in-chief of CTNewsJunkie.com. Colli began the talk by turning back the clock, asking how the media business has changed over time. Terzi, who has worked in journalism in Connecticut all but two years since 1968 after a stint in the air force as a communications intelligence officer in countries like China and Korea, reflected, \u201cWe wore a coat and tie every day. The video we showed was on film that had to be physically cut. We were basically news readers, reading from typed scripts. Teleprompters were rolled by hand. News came in through teletype machines. We gave five minutes of weather, 10 minutes of sports and 15 minutes of local news.\u201d Observing the business today, he said, \u201cWe didn\u2019t have breaking news\u2026now everything is breaking news. And now people are getting news online and through blogs. Often, broadcasters have their own agendas or say outrageous things. It seems people want to be entertained\u2014to see heat not light.\u201d Stuart, 38, recalls a more updated newsroom setting, though news items were still paste-ups to boards and there was no Twitter or Facebook when she bought her site in 2006. \u201cPeople today need to decide what\u2019s a good source of news and what\u2019s not and if they should trust the service or reporter. There\u2019s a code of ethics and not everyone follows it,\u201d she said. She also noted that since 2008, there\u2019s been a loss of more than 30,000 news reporting jobs in the U.S. Asked about social media\u2019s impact and if it puts pressure on a journalist to push out a story, Stuart said, \u201cI try not to feel that pressure. I try to be places where there are stories that aren\u2019t being told.\u201d Colli added, \u201cA rule at NBC is \u2018do not report anything you don\u2019t hear or see right in front of you.\u2019\u201d Zeroing in on civility, Colli queried fellow journalists about stories that rose to the top and how they learned to be human during a horrible time. Stuart said, \u201cWhen you approach the family of someone who has passed, sometimes they share the story and it\u2019s appreciated; other times they don\u2019t, and that\u2019s ok. The families often do come forward; sometimes you just have to give them time.\u201d Terzi recalled a specific incident\u2014an Air Florida flight that crashed into the Potomac River, killing 78 people. \u201cThere was one family from Canton, Ohio, that didn\u2019t survive, and I was asked to cover the funeral. There were four caskets\u2014two adults, two children. I paid my respects, waited outside and met up with my photographer. We asked an uncle if there was anything he would like to say. He was very kind, but said nobody was ready to talk. I called my news director to tell him we couldn\u2019t do the story. He was mad, but relented. We went with video footage and a voiceover.\u201d Colli focused on reporting ethics, offering that American standards are very high. \u201cInternational media is not so. At the Newtown shootings, there were reporters hiding in trees and wanting to take photos in the morgue. Connecticut media handled the situation with class. We had enough stories to tell without harassing the families,\u201d he said. Terzi made the point that, as local citizens, \u201cWe have an investment in the community, so we approach situations with an extra measure of care.\u201d A written question from an audience member asked why people in public service find media objectionable. Colli proposed, \u201cSome media feel like they have to go for the kill every day. You don\u2019t have to be contentious. There\u2019s a question and an answer.\u201d Another audience member asked how these journalists find their stories. Stuart said, \u201cA call, email, you see something on social media, state databases.\u201d \u201cEvery person you meet is a potential source. And everything you see could be a story,\u201d Colli said.