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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
Community engagement is a cornerstone of effective community policing. Whether that engagement is a strategic element of a department’s approach to building and maintaining partnerships or whether the engagement is simply an opportunity to bring officers and citizens together, hosting a community event that attracts the interest of community members and the support of officers is not always an easy thing to achieve. National Faith and Blue Weekend helps departments navigate this challenge.
National Faith & Blue Weekend 2021 will take place from October 8–11 and will offer an opportunity for law enforcement agencies and communities throughout the country to come together and have meaningful positive engagements. Faith & Blue Weekend is based on the premise that law enforcement and faith institutions are key pillars of every community and, when they work together with community leaders, neighborhoods thrive.
The first National Faith & Blue Weekend was held in October 2020, and despite the challenges associated with navigating the pandemic and engaging the public during a period of heightened social justice sentiments, more than 650 law enforcement agencies, houses of worship, and community-based organizations hosted more than 1,000 events in towns and cities in 43 states. Each event was conceived and planned locally, represented the vision and capacity of local partners, and was effective in promoting shared efforts to better communities.
Registration for departments to host an event during this year’s National Faith & Blue Weekend is open, and departments are encouraged to take part. An event host can be a law enforcement agency, house of worship, or community organization. The only other requirement is that the events be inclusive and collaborative.
During last year’s National Faith & Blue Weekend, activities were held in person, virtually, and at other venues conducive to social distancing and other anti-COVID practices. The Raleigh (North Carolina) Police Department teamed with a local church to host a Men’s Breakfast. In Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Police Department and local clergy held a Community Peace Walk. The Faith & Blue event in Long Beach, California was a community Zoom meeting. In Montezuma, Georgia, the ministerial alliance delivered messages of unity in various houses of worship during Sunday services and invited local law enforcement to attend and worship with congregants. The Shreveport, Louisiana Faith & Blue event was a community softball game. In Alexandria, Virginia, there was a showing of the movie Selma, followed by a community dialogue, and the Dallas (Texas) Police Department hosted a “You Ask, We Answer” discussion with community members.
The initiative is supported by organizations ranging from the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Moreover, Movement Forward has made presentations to 49 state chiefs’ and sheriffs’ associations to encourage their support and participation.
The best way a law enforcement agency can learn about hosting an event is to download the National Faith and Blue planning toolkit. This resource contains everything needed to be a host, including 30 sample activity templates and FAQs. In addition, the national Faith & Blue team can be reached at email@example.com or at 404-605-7000 to provide direct support.
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