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Rockford Police Meet with Local Religious Leaders

<font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><span style='font-family: "Times New Roman"; font-size: 12pt;'>Rockford Police reach out to church pastors in an effort to build community trust.<o:p></o:p></span><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font>

It was the first of a series of meetings meant to build trust and relationships between police and local preachers.

 

Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson, met with Stateline religious leaders. He taught them procedures of the police department with regards to religion.

 

Officers hope they can work together to spread the word throughout the community. Chief Chet

 

Epperson says "the more that we can collaborate and we can get those leaders informed about the operations of the police department, it just makes life a lot easier for our police officers to deal with.

 

Ministers and clergy took notes on police policies, but the meeting also left some scratching their heads.

 

Joseph Dixon of All Nations Worship Church did not realize that police can come into the doors of his church if they have probable cause.

 

Dixon says "it was today that he made it clear that he had the authority. Again, I did not know that they had it, and we will certainly sit down and give that some thought."

 

Dixon notes that the controversial Barmore police shooting happened in a church. While he wants his church free of crime, he does not want that kind of violence either.

   

Dixon says "we definitely don't want that, and that's why we are here. To make sure we build a relationship, to make sure we have clarity."

 

New Zion Church Minister Deryk Hayes is here to help build a better relationship with police and residents of Rockford's west side.

 

Hayes says "I come from a generation where we don't talk to police and we don't talk to police rightfully so particularly in this community because there is a dis-trust.

 

Hayes wants residents to feel police are there to protect them, not target them. He says "it's not always the police targeting you, often times it's that the police are protecting you."

 

 

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