BATON ROUGE,LA (FOX44) — "It's definitely a spark in my mind already," says attendee Gail Hurst
Hurst came all the way from New Roads to take part in a training session at New Gideon Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. The goal is to foster closer relationships between the community and police officers, so the violence that has gripped Baton Rouge and the surrounding parishes can stop.
"We need to get together and teach young people how to stay alive and free so that they can take the opportunity that they would like out of life, out their own choices," says Hurst
But it's more than just teaching the community. It's giving officers the skills to learn how to interact effectively and compassionately with the people in that community. And officer Herbert “Tweety” Anny knows it's going to take a change in attitude to get that accomplished.
"They will humble themselves in order to show kindness so that that kindness will be reciprocated," says Anny.
But Steven Beckham says fostering that relationship is going to take time. He should know, he's the pastor of Church of Life Fellowship Baptist Church right in the heart of the most violent part of the Capitol City, the 70805 zip code.
"Trust is something you build and you build trust with relationships. People have to be in a relationship to understand the trust level in order to divulge information, which is what it's going to take," Beckham
But Hurst believes these training sessions are a first step towards reaching that goal.
"Very good, very informed and very engaged and it's for us to get and take action with more small groups," says Hurst