Community activists want police to join forces with faith leaders

ATLANTA — Community activists are looking for solutions for the rise in crime in Atlanta.

One activist thinks the answer could be building relationships between law enforcement and faith-based organizations.

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The program he’s calling “The Faith and Blue” would see faith-based organizations partnering with law enforcement to hold events, meetings or really anything that gets both sides talking.

Reverend Markel Hutchins began this initiative in response to the tough year that 2020 was for police.

We’ve got to turn a new page. These people are not the enemies of our community. The are absolutely our friends,” he told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot.

Rev. Hutchins gathered faith leaders from across metro Atlanta and law enforcement officers to the State Capitol on Tuesday to begin discussing how they bridge the gap.

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“We have to figure out a way to move forward, because crime and violence are out of control, and we continue to see officer involved tragedies. So whatever we’ve been doing has not worked. It’s time to try something different,” he said.

Brookhaven Police Major Shameta Jones-Harrell thinks “The Faith and Blue” is a good idea.

She believes partnering with faith-based groups is a way to get into communities where relationships are strained and begin to heal them together.

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“There’s been challenges before with law enforcement organizations, and the profession and the community. The disconnect, and we’ve always been able to circle back and really reel it back in, and I think we’ll be able to do it again,” she said.

Currently, there are about 200 events scheduled for faith-based groups and law enforcement across the state.

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