A local event taking place Friday aims to bridge the divide — whether perceived or actual — between law enforcement and the community.
Faith & Blue Weekend is a fairly new national movement that encourages local law enforcement agencies to pair with faith-based organizations or churches to bring officers together with the communities they serve. Events will take place across the country this weekend, according to www.faithandblue.org.
Milledgeville’s own Faith & Blue event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of First United Methodist Church on Log Cabin Road. It is free and open to the public.
Sgt. First Class Kevin Pope, commander for Georgia State Patrol Post 33 in Milledgeville, organized this year’s effort locally.
“It’s basically a meet-and-greet for folks in the community that may not have a lot of contact with law enforcement, or who maybe have not had a lot of positive contact with law enforcement,” Pope said. “We want to build and foster positive relationships in order to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community we serve.”
Officers with the GSP, Milledgeville Police Department, Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 6 Office will be on hand to meet with residents at the church Friday. Law enforcement entities from a couple surrounding counties have been invited to attend as well.
In addition to creating a dialogue between law enforcement and those they are sworn to protect, the Faith & Blue event aims to help the community in a number of other ways. There will be a blood drive and mini health fair where attendees can get blood pressure checks, COVID screenings, or even receive the COVID vaccine if they so choose. First United Methodist is currently doing a coat drive, so attendees Friday can bring a new or gently used coat to donate Friday as well. Kids are also welcome to attend as there will be a bounce house on-site, and local restaurant Ms. Stella’s is donating food.
Pope said he does not know how many people to expect Friday, but he did have a range in mind. If case of rain, the local event will be moved indoors at the church.
“I’m hoping for anywhere from 200 to 300 people.”