Pastor works with police chief to set up forum for conversation

Pastor works with police chief to set up forum for conversation
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 pastor is working with the Jonesboro Police Chief to start a forum for discussion between the community and police.

Pastor Adrian Rodgers with Fullness of Joy Church said he and other pastors in the area think a forum would be beneficial for people.

The forum would give residents and police a place to have a discussion and better understand one another.

"It will bring the police and community together so we can have very open and honest discussion and bring about understandings on both sides," Rodgers said.

Rodgers said he and Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott have been discussing how to start the forum.

"They have talked about a forum for people throughout the community and law enforcement to come together and have a conversation," Paul Holmes, the Jonesboro Police Department's public information specialist, said. "That is something they are both working on, and we will hopefully do very soon."

Holmes said Chief Elliott makes it a point to keep in touch with leaders in the community, including faith-based leaders.

"Chief and Pastor Rodgers visit frequently and stay in touch like chief does with many of the religious leaders in the community," Holmes said.

Holmes said this effort to keep good relations with the community and police is important to Elliott and the department.

"Making sure you know the community and the community knows you is one of the points of emphasis that Chief Elliott has stressed since he has been here and we want to continue that," Holmes said.

Holmes said something like a forum would be great to keep the conversation and understanding in Jonesboro.

"This is part of the continuous outreach effort that we have here," he said. "We need to know the people we are working for and the people we work for need to know us."

He said the department has several outreach programs for the community, including their citizen police academy.

The department is currently taking applications for the next academy.

"You need to talk to each other, not at each other, and that is what we intend to do," Holmes said. "We have a number of outreach initiatives, and this is just one of them."

Holmes said any program like the academy or forum is good for the community and department.

He said it is important for people to know what police go through every day, but it is also important for police to understand the people they serve as well.

"We always say what we would like you to do is comply, and if you don't feel like you have been treated properly then there are a number of avenues where you can address that," Holmes said. "Comply then complain. If we have these conversations, then we will have fewer complaints."

The forum date and time has not been set, but Rodgers said he hopes to have it organized soon

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