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FTPD, Church Congregations, Hit The Streets In Parkside To Promote Unity

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Pastor Johnnie Myers, in purple shirt, and Pastor Thomas Lewis, next to him, walk with FTPD Officers Ken Reid, in uniform, and Deyo Swartz, in yellow shirt, through the Parkside neighborhood on Aug. 12.


Franklin Township police officers and members of two church congregations went door-to-door in one neighborhood Aug. 12.

The goal of the walk through the Parkside neighborhood, according to its organizers, was to help the community and the officers get to know each other.

“What we plan to accomplish is just for the police officers to have the opportunity to speak with the community, and the community to have the opportunity to speak with the police, to ask the question we all want to ask, how do we get home at night?” said Pastor Thomas Lewis of True-2-Life Ministries. He and Pastor Johnnie Myers of the Full Gospel Temple of Praise, both on Victor Street, organized the event and plan another one on Aug. 19 at The Arbors at Franklin apartment complex.

“We want to show them that there’s nothing for them to worry about,” Lewis said. “We have to trust the ones who have sworn to serve and protect us. If we can’t trust them, we’re going to have a lot of problems.”

The group stopped wherever there were people sitting on porches or stoops to hand them fliers, give them small gifts and introduce the police officers, Patrolmen Deyo Swartz and Ken Reid.

Most residents were receptive to the outreach, shaking hands and joking with the officers and the pastors.

“There’s too much killing of innocent lives on both sides,” Lewis said. “At some point, we have to say, when is enough, enough.”

“We’re not out here to protest, we’re just out here to walk in the community and let them know,” he said.

Myers agreed.

“We felt we needed to build unity between the Franklin Township Police Department and the community,” he said. “I spoke to some people in the community, and they don’t like the police. We’re trying to break down those barriers so we create a community that’s in unity with our police officers, our mayor and those who are really fighting for our protection.”

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The group prayed before and after the walk.

“We just said we have to do something in our community,” Myers said.

Swartz said the township police department welcomes every opportunity to get to meet community members.

“This is very important,” he said. “We felt it was a real opportunity for us to come out here, meet with their congregations and break down some of the barriers with the residents of the town, so we can move forward and we can always, as they’re trying to promote, get home safe at the end of the day.”

 

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