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Police teaming up with faith leaders to help families through tragedy

Posted at 8:48 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-21 20:48:31-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- When it comes to addressing crime, we repeatedly hear police can't do it alone.

Now, two local jurisdictions are leaning on faith to make changes in the community.

Literally, they are leaning on the faith community to help them deal with the crime and issues it leaves behind.

In the City of Richmond, a community was recently devastated by a double-shooting and suicide, possibly witnessed by two small children.

Many were left to wonder how to wrap their minds around at all.

After Richmond police responded to the crime scene at Oliver Crossing Apartments, the next move was to call on area faith leaders to help a grieving family and stunned community deal with a tragedy.

Sgt. Carol Adams says this is just one aspect of their faith leaders partnership.

She says they regularly meet with pastors and church members to hear concerns and to keep them updated on crime trends in the area.

Sgt. Carol Adams

Sgt. Carol Adams

They also engage families during special community day events.

In the past, that has included grilling out and having meet and greet activities with neighbors in the community.

"We’ve cooked dinner, we’ve cooked on the grill, we give away clothes, and we have given away furniture," Adams said.

It's a partnership that's helping to bridge the gap between the community and police.

Hanover Pastor Buddy Thompson says his Life Church congregation is part of a similar initiative started by the Hanover County Sheriff's Office.

It is called Worship Watch.

Pastor Thompson says he believes his church and congregation are better prepared thanks to this program.

Thompson says they enjoy monthly newsletters from the Hanover Sheriff's Office which outline crime stats and trends in their community.

He says they also help church members keep up-to-date on the latest scams that may be targeting churches and vulnerable citizens in the community.

Life Church

Life Church

Sgt. Terry Sullivan from the HCSO says whether they are depending on faith community volunteers or whether his department is providing security trainings to keep worship facilities safe, these growing partnerships are a win-win, with the community coming out on top.

Currently the Hanover County Sheriff's Office has partnered with 136 different churches.

Richmond police Sgt. Carol Adams told us they're always looking to connect with more faith leaders and partners.

Their next meeting that's open to all citizens is March 7 at 3 p.m. It will take place at police headquarters at 200 Grace St.