Georgia police embrace community outreach to address crime
LISTEN: In the wake of a rise in violent crime, police officers across Georgia are embracing a new community outreach initiative as they seek solutions. GPB’s Amanda Andrews explains.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement officers across Georgia are joining an initiative to improve community outreach and decrease violence.
Faith and Blue was founded in 2020 by Rev. Markel Hutchins. Amid a wave of violent crime, Hutchins said stronger collaborations between police and residents can lead to change.
“The solutions to the challenges with crime and violence, as well as trust, lie in the hearts and minds of every community resident and every law enforcement professional,” he said. “And that's why we want the community to come together with law enforcement.”
The organization connects faith-based groups such as churches, temples and mosques with police. Atlanta Deputy Police Chief Timothy Peek said he hopes these partnerships will help reach people even outside churches.
“Every church has a congregation, and that congregation has many members, too," Peek said in an interview with GPB. "That family has ... a number of associates. So we look as we push information out, that we hope that someone will be able to touch each and every person, even if it's through social media”
From Oct. 7 through Oct. 11, precincts across the state and the country will hold events for officers to engage with the communities where they work. Events include community dialogues, meet and greets, picnics and community service projects.
But rebuilding trust in police could take time.
The Georgia NAACP recently asked the Department of Justice to investigate the Atlanta Police Department for unfair policing. The group made the announcement after the special attorney announced no charges would be pressed against the two Atlanta Police Department officers involved in the death of Rayshard Brooks in 2020.