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Local churches partner with police for Faith and Blue initiative

Several area churches are teaming up with police in a community outreach effort. It’s part of a national initiative called “Faith and Blue,” which aims to improve community relationships through collaboration with faith communities. The next Kansas City area event is scheduled for Oct. 17 from 3:00 pm to6:00 pm. It’s hosted First Baptist Church of Peculiar and the Peculiar Police Department. It will include a picnic setting with hot dogs, chips, etc. Also included is a flag raising event of Law Enforcement ‘blue striped ‘ flag.

Pastor Kevin Smith of Northland Cathedral said officers can connect with people in need of help and churches can offer a space to have critical conversations.

“When we start having conversations, it comes back to what’s right and wrong, and those are moral choices,” he told KMBC-TV. “The Bible speaks a lot about the areas of morality and areas of loving one another. When we are able to have those types of conversations, whether someone may not agree or not, that in itself is the open door.”

Seattle Police play chess with kids.

Lance Lenz is a community interaction officer with the Kansas City Police Department in the Northland. He said the events of this year have left many officers discouraged. “There’s a lot of weight on our shoulders these days, and there are incidents that haven’t helped us with that cause,” he said.

Lentz said he would like to see a concerted effort by the police department to engage with the community and provide opportunities to ask questions.

“Let the community ask why you did what you did in this situation or that situation,” he said. “Oftentimes our policies and our use of force decisions are done for very specific reasons, and it usually coincides back to our training and our experience. They still may not like it, but they’ll have an understanding for why we did what we did.”

On Sunday night. a small group of people gathered for a unity vigil at Harmony Vineyard Church, holding up glow sticks and lights in support of officers.

More information is available at www.faithandblue.org.