MARIETTA, Ga. - Faith leaders across Marietta are on a mission to build closer relationships with police. They're taking part in the Marietta Police Department's Pastors Police Academy.
Faith leaders said with the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the number of officer-involved shootings as well as protests that have been seen across the country now is the time to work together.
Over the next six weeks, they'll learn what it's like behind the badge. They'll learn about the use of force, cybercrimes, traffic stops and much more. The goal is to build long-term relationships. Pastors can take their knowledge back to their congregations, and in return bring any of the community's concerns to the police.
In the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Zion Baptist Church Pastor Eric Beckham said it's even more important for him and his church to form a bond with police.
"What happened in Vegas, as a church we want to be aware of active shooter policy and dealing with emergencies. It's very important to have a connection and communication before an event like that takes place because while we don't want it to, it can happen anywhere," said Pastor Beckham.
Imam Nihal Khan from the West Cobb Islamic Center said he'd like to build a long-term relationship.
"Everything won't get fixed overnight, but we can learn how to hold hands together so everyone is coming together," said Imam Khan.
Bobby Lee Bobbitt is a volunteer Chaplain for the Marietta Police. He said reaching out to pastors and teaching them what it's like for those behind the badge can bridge the gap between police and the community.
"It's good for the pastors to be a part of this team in the community because that's what's going to make the difference to make it a better place," said Bobbitt.