Partnership between KCPD faith leaders seeks to build community trust

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new effort to change the culture in urban core neighborhoods has resulted in a partnership between Kansas City police and faith leaders.

The idea is to create an organized group of church leaders from many Kansas City neighborhoods to serve as ambassadors for police. Too often, There is a lack of trust between many in minority communities and law enforcement.

However, many neighbors respect church leaders, who often provide free services to the community around them. Ministers can help convince more people that everyone has a role to play in making their neighborhoods safer.

“Most faith communities have a connection with their neighborhoods, even those who don’t belong to that faith community,” Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III, of St. James United Methodist Church, said. “We have food pantries. We have different services that we provide. And for some of those things, most of them are not members. They are people in the community. So we do have that trust, and I think because we already have the connection with those neighborhoods, working with KCPD just makes it where we can really identify and address some of those things.”

The campaign is called “Getting to the Heart of the Matter.” Members hope that ministers will be able to provide conflict resolution and mentoring to others in their neighborhoods and convince more neighbors to work with police when crimes happen.

Part of the effort also includes working with police on referring candidates for jobs within the department, and developing projects with police in the urban core, which generate income for neighbors.

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