Pastors Partner With Police to Improve Community Relations
Pastors in Kalamazoo, Mich. have joined with the local law enforcement to help better its relationship with the community.
Pastors on Patrol, or the “POP” Program, “is an interdenominational response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to care, listen and promote dialogue,” according to a statement released by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety on its Facebook page.
POP allows local clergy to work side-by-side with the police by riding along with them for at least eight hours a month.
Pastor Gregory Jennings, who has already dedicated 30 hours to riding along with police, finds his experience invaluable.
As he explained to local NewsChannel 3, he wanted to get involved, “To see what was going on with my own eyes and in order to do what I needed to get out here on the street to see how they interact with the community and how the community interact with them.”
Last week KDPS launched our "POP"s program. The program, Pastors on Patrol, is an interdenominational response to urban…
The ultimate goal of the POP program is to build trust that is often lacking between the community and the police.
Assistant Chief Vernon Coakly started the POP program partially from his recognition that the community does not always feel safe approaching the police with information. “There are times when we need the community’s help and sometimes that doesn’t occur the way we want it to happen,” Coakly acknowledged.
The KDPS is hoping the presence of the pastors will turn that around and help build a bridge between the community and the police. The pastors have established a level of trust with the community that they hope will transfer to the police through the POP program.
“So when they see me get out, if I trust the police officer and you trust me, then maybe there’s a connection there that maybe I can trust them, maybe I can change,” Jennings stated.
But the POP program is not only about changing the community’s perception of the police. It also aims to improve the police’s interaction with the community.
As Coakly reveals, “The national scene can be ugly, we have problems here. We’re not perfect. We’re continuing our strive to be better every day, by one contact at a time.”
(image via screengrab)