Faith and Blue Weekend ends with conversations about policing

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:59 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Law enforcement and faith leaders joined forces to show unity and hold important conversations during Faith and Blue Weekend.

The weekend ended with a panel discussion called “Policing in the Capital City” at Freewill Missionary Baptist Church.

City and community leaders discussed topics like police training, police reform, community policing, psychological impact and mass incarceration.

According to Montgomery County District Attorney Darryl Bailey, Montgomery has seen 63 homicides in 2021. He says he wants to stop violence before it happens and wants to keep guns out of children’s hands, but he says it starts with what is done at home.

“If you don’t know what your child’s doing on social meeting media, if you’re not looking through your phones, if you’re not going through their rooms looking for guns, drugs, whatever kind of things they have in their rooms, you’re not doing your job as a parent. You’re not doing your job as a parent,” Bailey said. “We’ve got to be proactive.”

The community’s trust in police was also discussed. Interim Police Chief Ramona Harris says there has to be a change in mentality.

“Take away the stigma of us versus them and put the mentality of this is us, Montgomery. We are Montgomery. Our community, our police department, our problems, our crime,” Harris said. “The more we can work together at getting these issues resolved.”

But each panelist stressed the importance of having discussions around mental health - a topic that they feel is not brought up enough in communities.

“Everybody needs to be talking about how do we debrief from what’s happening from day to day, and I just feel like that’s the big issue here,” licensed counselor Monique Johnson said. “Everybody needs a place and a space to be able to break down and process what’s happening with them.”

Harris says having discussions is essential for the framework for our community today and for future generations.

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