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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

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September 2022 | Volume 15 | Issue 9

The 2022 National Faith & Blue Weekend will take place October 7-10, Columbus Day weekend. In the first year of Faith & Blue, 1,000 engagements were held in 43 states and the District of Columbia, drawing tens of thousands of participants and showing the law enforcement community what was possible through collaboration. In 2021, 2,000 engagements were held in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In a short amount of time, Faith & Blue has become a consolidated police-community outreach initiative observed nationwide.

The initiative 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. Faith & Blue’s objective is to recalibrate police-community relations through solutions-focused activities—whether in-person, socially distanced, or virtual activities—that are organized jointly by faith-based or other community groups in collaboration with law enforcement agencies. These activities are an opportunity for law enforcement to work directly with local stakeholders to plan and carry out events that are inclusive and truly reflective of their community’s unique needs and capacities.

Reverend Markel Hutchins and the team at MovementForward, Inc., an inclusive social change nonprofit organization, are the catalysts behind Faith & Blue. Hutchins first became involved with law enforcement in his native city Atlanta as a civil rights proponent who spent his early career working on behalf of community issues, often in opposition to law enforcement. Then, in 2009, following a divisive police-involved shooting, things changed. The Atlanta Police Department invited Rev. Hutchins in, ran him through a modified Citizens Police Academy, and gave him an inside perspective of the complexities involving policing and the use of force. For the first time, Rev. Hutchins was forced to view police-community related issues differently, and this led to a newfound conviction that getting law enforcement and communities to work together could solve problems.

Today, what began as an epiphany for Hutchins has evolved into a nationwide effort to build and strengthen community partnerships, supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs’ Association, Major Counties Sheriffs of America, Major Cities Chiefs, Small and Rural Law Enforcement Executives Association, National District Attorney’s Association, and just about every other major national law enforcement membership organization. The initiatives’ sponsors are FirstNet and Motorola, and federal partners include the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).

The events hosted throughout the country during the first two National Faith & Blue Weekends provide clear examples of just how creative local jurisdictions can be:

  • The Raleigh (North Carolina) Police Department teamed up with a local church to host a Men’s Breakfast where officers and African American men from the community ate together and had needed conversations.
  • In Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Police Department and local clergy held a Community Peace Walk in which the police and the community marched together.
  • 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 between mixed teams of officers and youth.
  • In Alexandria, Virginia, there was a showing of the movie Selma, followed by a community dialogue.
  • The Dallas (Texas) Police Department hosted a “You Ask, We Answer” discussion with community members.

There have been abbreviated citizens police academies, health fairs, Narcan training sessions supported by drug addiction counselors, and home-repair events where police and community members collaborated on repairing houses of elderly or less fortunate residents. Some departments even got their recruiters involved to help identify and begin working to support potential Academy recruits.

Examples of registered events for the 2022 Faith & Blue Weekend include the following:

For departments and communities that are interested in hosting an event and would like ideas to consider, Faith & Blue has developed a toolkit that provides guidance on how to host events ranging from community dialogues to essay contests, community service projects, blood drives and vigils for understanding. The organization also offers materials to help communities promote their events, as well as one-page overviews in Spanish, Arabic, French, and Somali to build support in non-English speaking communities. All these resources and additional information on how to plan and register an event can be found at the National Faith & Blue website. In addition, the Faith & Blue team can be reached at or at 404-605-7000 for direct support.

For more information, listen to The Beat podcast with Reverend Markel Hutchins discussing MovementForward.

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