Snellville Police Department teams with local church in community engagement effort

PHOTO CAPTION: Snellville Police Department Chief Roy Whitehead speaks at a 1C1P meeting Sunday.

The city’s police department and leaders at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church are partnering in an effort to better relations between police and the community in the Metro Atlanta area.

The effort, called One Congregation One Precinct (1C1P), is an initiative of MovementForward, Inc., and works to meet objectives outlined by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. It is designed to “prevent, combat and solve crimes” by combining the resources of local police departments and faith-based organizations. It also works to “proactively create a direct link between law enforcement executives and community leaders in an effort to avert violent and divisive public responses to police-involved incidents while also giving voice to growing public concerns relative to policing,” according to 1C1P documents.

“It’s a great opportunity to expand the partnership we enjoy with our community,” Snellville Police Department Chief Roy Whitehead said.

“This innovative effort is purposed to stem mounting tensions between citizens and law enforcement officers by building partnerships and mutual understandings, as well as establishing a structured framework for the public to assist law enforcement efforts,” 1C1P documents read.

The program has drawn praise from church leaders.

“In the last several years, instances of excessive use of force by law enforcement, especially towards people of color, has generated academic studies, newspaper articles and lawsuits,” said the Rev. Canon Elizabeth Hendrick, rector of St. Matthew’s. “St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is honored to be one of the first 15 sites selected for the 1C1P program in the metro Atlanta area, whose goal is to ‘build partnerships between cops and communities.’ It is our hope and prayer that the collaborative partnership between the officers of Snellville Police Department and members of St. Matthew’s will result in experiences we can share with the 1C1P coordinators, so that this program can expand beyond the initial 15 sites to every police department and faith congregation who wishes to participate.”

Gregory Andrews, who is coordinating the effort at St. Matthew’s said he hopes his church can provide a blueprint for other churches in the city – and world – to follow.

“There’s nothing volatile in Snellville,” he said. “But you must step out and do what you can to prevent bad things from happening.”

For more information on the project visit 1C1P.org.

 

This is the fact sheet for the 1C1P.

One Congregation One Precinct (1C1P)

an initiative of MovementForward, Inc.

BRIEF SUMMARY

“Building Partnerships between Cops and Communities

Overview:

One Congregation One Precinct (1C1P), an initiative of MovementForward, Inc., has several interwoven objectives that incorporate the six pillars outlined by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The first objective is to improve public safety through collaboration and information sharing to prevent, combat and solve crimes by utilizing the varied resources of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other faith based organizations. Second, 1C1P aims to increase community engagement with patrol-level law enforcement professionals, via congregations, resulting in decreased bias and increased familiarity, respect and trust. Finally, 1C1P is designed to proactively create a direct link between law enforcement executives and community leaders in an effort to avert violent and divisive public responses to police-involved incidents while also giving voice to growing public concerns relative to policing. In the wake of numerous police-involved controversies, law enforcement executives, community organizers, civic activists and faith leaders are mutually invested in deterring destructive exchanges between cops and citizens. These sectors are therefore joining forces to launch an unprecedented program. This innovative effort is purposed to stem mounting tensions between citizens and law enforcement officers by building partnerships and mutual understandings, as well as establishing a structured framework for the public to assist law enforcement efforts.

In light of contentious and potentially dangerous friction currently felt between many civilians and law enforcement professionals, leaders in every relevant sector must work to improve and strengthen relationships between officers and citizens BEFORE an explosive scenario occurs. Local leaders must not wait for a riotous scenario to explode as was the case in Charlotte, NC; Baton Rouge, LA; Ferguson, MO; Baltimore, MD and elsewhere before they begin to prepare a response. Law enforcement officials, civil rights advocates, civic activists and faith leaders must work cooperatively around common public safety goals. Failure to take this kind of innovative approach to community policing could have dire consequences for officers and citizens alike.

Given its’ rich history of bringing people together to address problems around race and justice, Atlanta has a unique opportunity to set a positive example for the nation. 1C1P is therefore being piloted in the metro area with great potential for rapid duplication and expansion nationally.

History and Background:

The One Congregation One Precinct initiative was originally conceptualized in 2009 following a rash of high-profile violent crimes in metro Atlanta as “One Church One Precinct”, a short-term project aimed at engaging faith leaders in solving those specific crimes. The tragic and horrifying crisis of violence witnessed almost daily in Atlanta had nearly reached epidemic proportions and could not be adequately addressed by law enforcement alone. Faith community leaders saw a need to coalesce and act in unison with police. On Friday, September 4, 2009, every police chief from the county departments immediately bordering the city of Atlanta gathered at Atlanta Police headquarters for an emergency meeting with prominent clergy from throughout the metropolitan area in response to the murder of a Spelman College student and numerous other widely publicized crimes that preceded.

Six years later, on Saturday, June 13, 2015 in downtown Atlanta, hundreds of law enforcement officers and citizens of every age, race and ideology again stood in solidarity to promote and foster a protracting culture of concern, cooperation and reciprocal respect. A Town Hall meeting was held in the historic Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College. In addition to law enforcement and community leaders, the televised discussion featured families of both fallen officers and citizens killed by officers in an effort to create an atmosphere of peace, unity and reconciliation. The rebirth, rebranding and permanent repurposing of 1C1P is the programmatic continuation of that pivotal dialogue. The initiative was formally launched on July 7th at the Carter Center in Atlanta

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