More than a dozen of the largest national police organizations on Tuesday announced what they dubbed the “most consolidated police-community engagement project in history.”
The Faith & Blue initiative is a weekend-long project in which faith organizations and law enforcement groups will lead activities to strengthen relationships between police and local communities. The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), International Association of Chiefs of Police and many other groups partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice for the initiative.
“While I believe in human and civil rights — I’ve been leading marches and protests my whole life — the best march that we have today is to march hand-in-hand with our public safety professionals to figure out a way forward,” Faith & Blue Weekend founder Rev. Markel Hutchins said during a press conference Tuesday. “Too much fear and anxiety on all sides, is what has gotten us to this place.”
“We need our nation to stand up,” he continued.
The Faith & Blue initiative hosted more than 1,000 community events across 43 states for its weekend program last year, according to Jack Molloy, an executive at Motorola, a lead event sponsor. Molloy said the organization hoped to double its impact this year.
“Look at what we’re dealing with today where, for a long period of time, those 800,000 men and women who showed up in communities across this country were demonized just by simply wearing a badge,” FOP National President Patrick Yoes said. “And it really is unfortunate because that’s not who we are.”
Yoes added that FOP joined Faith & Blue because it was an opportunity to personalize police officers who are often criticized and accused of misconduct. The weekend was about building relationships in communities that would last for a long time, he said.
This year’s Faith & Blue Weekend will take place in early October.
Last year, thousands of protests and riots occurred nationwide after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd, a black man. A Minnesota jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree and third-degree murder in April.
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