Faith has played a strong role in an individual’s values, making up the core beliefs of that person’s identity. This identity and stance can affect how that individual may then engage in social movement and/or change. Many faith communities have large numbers of people who seek activism or opportunities which lend way to doing good for the greater part of society. Houses of Worship have started to emerge as a key player in helping, especially regarding volatile situations, as a connector within the gap of community to police or even political relations.
A key factor is the trust gained from Houses of Worship with their followers. Religious leaders and staff can support more positive views and defuse stigma surrounding police within a given community. This trust must be garnered over time and why beginning interactions between local law enforcement and Houses of Worship are important steps in planning methodically and consciously.
With our OneCOP Initiative, this allows local law enforcement to begin taking those necessary steps of securing trust with faith communities. From casual dialogue between each party to ride-alongs with officers in the area, such activities begin forming the bonds and lessening the gap. With this type of programming, cities have seen a drop in crime rates and recidivism.
Faith communities can act as a voice for social justice initiatives and encourage those within trying to better the world around them.