Officers in Pews; Pastors in Police Cars: How One Program Allows Police and the Community to Walk a Mile in Each Other's Shoes
- all get along.
Can we get along?
- [Amber Strong] Division between police
and certain communities is nothing new,
and while many enjoy anamicable relationship
with law enforcement,social media shines a light
on the division and broken trust.
But in Indianapolis, membersof the faith community
and law enforcement hopeto exchange vantage points,
and walk a mile in each others shoes.
All thanks to a program called One Cop.
- The one things really uniqueand special about one cop
is that it's really focusedon beat police officers.
These are the people who,if they're doing their job
correctly are literallywalking up and down the block.
- [Amber Strong] And it's something this
community sees most everyday.
What they don't usually seeis a nun in a police car,
or police officers seatedin pews during the week.
Church leaders also get to trytheir hand at being officers,
facing the challenge ofsplit-second decision.
- Or what?
- [Amber Strong] The teamat One Cop believes churches
are uniquely positioned tobreak down any walls existing
between the police and thosethey are sworn to protect.
- To walk the streets, Ithink, with a police officer
would be an eye opening experience.
- [Amber Strong] Pastor JimWright jumped at the opportunity
to be a liaison and perhaps more.
- Introducing them the community
and being a host sitefor the community would
be a really good way ofconnecting the community
with the police officers, withus as the bridge, and then,
Lord willing, opening up thedoor to share the gospel.
- Local law enforcement are also
eager to open doors and makea good first impression.
If you commit a crimehere in Indianapolis,
you're likely to wind up here,at the Marion County Jail,
where you'll be greeted by a member
of the sheriff's department.
Well, local law enforcementare hoping to change all that
and build a relationshipwith the community
before they wind up jail.
Marion County Sheriff,John Layton, hopes renewing
relationships can help cutdown on counter-productive
codes, like no snitching.
He also wants to create andbuild levels of respect.
- You shouldn't have to fear a uniform.
Ever fear a uniform.
But please respect it.
- [Amber Strong] WhileLayton blames social media
for the growing antagonism,
he quickly admits mistakes have been made.
- There are tens of thousands of police
officers across the United States.
Every now and then, one steps out of line.
Sometimes it's a mistake of the head,
sometimes a mistake of the heart.
It's such a minusculepercentage of the police
that are out there everyday
dodging bullets, instead of sending them.
- Put your hands behind your back.
- I can't breathe!
- [Amber Strong] Even a few,however, can deepen the divide.
The 17 year old lay prone on the pavement
as the shots continued.
16 rounds in 14 seconds.
- [Jenna Bush Hager] The aftermathcaptured in graphic video
and streamed live on Facebookby the man's girlfriend.
- [Amber Strong] In Texas, forexample, tensions remain high
after Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger,
shot and killed 26 year old faith leader,
Botham Jean, inside his apartment.
Community leaders therequestion why Guyger
was able to stay on the jobfor so long after the shooting.
Indianapolis crime reporter,Steve Jefferson, points
out if and when incidentslike this happen,
transparency is important.
He's seen it work, so far, in Indy.
- The ongoing relationship,which still needs a lot of work,
has kept things from beingexplosive here in our city.
- [Amber Strong] He creditsprograms like One Cop
and other faith based initiatives
for helping calm things down.
Prevention is key and Jefferson adds
that training goes a long way.
- Our department here inIndianapolis, now actually
teaches officers not to let their biases
impact their work on the street.
We all expect to be treateda certain way by the police
and I think them knowing how to deescalate
a situation, rather it be a traffic stop,
rather it be trying toID a young black man who
you think is trespassing.
- [Amber Strong] As a deaconhimself, Jefferson knows
the church can play a majorrole in building relationships.
- Pastors need to do, is take advantage
of their captive audience,because if they can get
the message to theparents of the children,
then the children can getthe message from the parents.
- [Amber Strong] SheriffLayton is optimistic,
because mutual respectand, basically living by
the Golden Rule, will successfully bring
churches, the community, andlaw enforcement together.
- We can start respect again.
Not just for the uniform,
but for the people in those churches.
- [Amber Strong] Amber Strong,CBN News in Indianapolis.